$4,000 crystal-encrusted eye-masks for 5 lucky Virgin Atlantic passengers

You may sleep, but your neighbor may be kept awake by the sparkle.

Travelers hoping to avoid jet lag on a long-haul flight often don black eye masks in hopes of getting some shut-eye.

They may look bland, but they work.

But on Thursday, five lucky Virgin Atlantic passengers will be able to snooze in considerably better style wearing a limited-edition mask, decorated with $4,000 worth of Swarovski crystals.

The airline introduced new amenity kits for its economy, premium economy and first-class passengers on Sept. 1. To celebrate, it’s tucking five swanky Swarovski eye masks — each with more than 3,000 red, white and blue crystals — in the amenity kits handed out in the economy section of five flights. The crystals were all hand applied (10 hours per mask) by Saima Anwar, an artist who also creates crystal eyelashes for celebrities such as Katy Perry.

Thursday’s winners could include passengers on any of the airline’s flights to or from 11 cities in North America, including New York, Chicago, Boston and Los Angeles.

Five eyeshades have been created to mark the launch of new amenity kits which are now appearing on board all Virgin Atlantic flights.

“As the majority of our flights leave at night, arriving in London in the morning, we want to make sure our guests are well rested to begin their days, whether they be traveling for business or pleasure,” said Chris Rossi, senior vice president North America.

Virgin Atlantic has been sweet on Swarovski for a while. Since 2003, the airline’s first-class cabins have featured Swarovski crystals on the cabin walls. Curtains adorned with more than 1,000 Swarovski crystals were recently added to the revamped first-class section on the airline’s A330 aircraft.

While only five passengers will score the cool, crystal-encrusted eye-masks, the new, complimentary amenity kits are sure to be keepers. Each economy class kit contains one of the airline’s signature red eyeshades decorated with one of six sunglass designs, including one with heart-shaped frame and another in a shutter style.

The premium economy kits are charcoal gray pouches made from recycled plastic bottles. The pouches have silk linings and are designed to double as travel wallets.

Virgin Atlantic’s first-class passengers will be issued amenity kits made from the same recycled material, but their pouches will be big enough to be reused as holders for tablet devices or e-readers.

Why upgrade an amenity that many other airlines don’t even offer to travelers in the coach cabin? “To enhance the customer experience to travelers in any class by offering a number of on- and off-board amenities not found with other carriers,” said Rossi.

Or, as the airline states in a news release, because it’s “all part of Virgin Atlantic’s commitment to sustainability, and going green (and gorgeous!).”

(My story about Virgin Atlantic’s new amenity kits and the Swarovski crystal encrusted mask give-away first appeared on NBC News Travel)

Photos courtesy Virgin Atlantic.