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Entertaining or not? An Inflight Magazine Comparison

You have them on almost every flight. They are located in the seat in front you? The airlines try to give you some distraction by offering you inflight magazines as part of their flight experience. But is it worth it? During November and December 2018, I grabbed all magazines I could and did this small inflight magazine comparison. It is of course rather limited, as – for example – I did not have a single flight to Asia during that time, but I hope it is interesting to read anyway.

 

Airlines and Inflight Magazines

Though I just collected the magazines for just some eight weeks, I finally had quite a stack of them at home. I felt it is interesting to see how differently they are made up and what they have in common. I sorted them in chronological order. For those magazines I found online editions of, I added a link below the corresponding sections. Please note that the volume of data may be quite massive if you open it.

LATAM – Vamos

Collected on 8th November 2018 on LA 705 FRA – MAD

Edition November 2018
Language(s) Spanish & Portuguese (english see below)
Pages 158
thereof ads 40 (25%)
Special Features
  • From page 142 onwards, magazine is translated to English
  • CEO letter (page 7) in English only as well.
Comments

LATAM does not only feature my favourite flight, but also one of two magazines in my review, which do not allow me to understand it completely. Vamos is focussing on home market Southern America and thus comes in Spanish and Portuguese in its main part. However, the final pages give a short translated Vamos version in English as well. The CEO greetings at the beginning of the magazine are also given in English only. Though that gives me a non-barrier-free time of reading, I really enjoyed browsing through the Spanish and Portuguese language part. There are two major travel features (about Cali, Columbia and South Africa). The layout is very colorful and makes Vamos fun to read. There is also a lot of information about travelling with LATAM, including new immigration rules for the Easter Islands.

I could not find any online resource which is having an online version of the magazine.

 

Iberia – Ronda

Collected on 7th December 2018 on I2 3954 from Madrid to Seville

Edition November / December 2018
Language(s) Spanish & English
Pages 104
thereof ads 27 (26%) plus 42 pages of fixed advert magazine.
Special Features
Comments

Ronda is the “normal” inflight magazine, which you may find in all classes of Iberia. However, sometimes, you do not have it in business class. The cover story, a portrait of Uruguay, takes quite a proportion of the magazine, ranging from page 19 to 41 (incl. advert pages). It is majorly done by short portraits of people and places, though. The next major articles feature the interior or Gran Canaria and the Dusseldorf Academy of fine arts. There are just a few more articles, before you have the “typical” inflight information like fleet and network maps. Ronda is thus a comparably quick read.

You may find this Ronda edition online under this link (external link).

 

Iberia – Excellente
Collected on 9th November 2018 on I2 3944 from Madrid to Tenerife North

Edition November 2018
Language(s) Spanish, English
Pages 64
thereof ads 13 (20%)
Special Features
Comments

Excelente is the Iberia Business Class magazine (Link: Review of the A350 Iberia Business Class). Thus, you find it in the front rows of Iberia, Iberia Express and Iberia Regional / Air Nostrum only, apart from lounge distribution. It is comparably short and starts with quite some advertisements and promotion editorials – on the other hand, the second part of the magazine is ad-free. The first half rather covers short articles about arts, style & fashion, cars and food and was quite quick for me to read. The second part, though, had some nice features, e.g. a portrait of the Prado museum. Another article deals with a Maya temple which was hidden for long in the jungle of Guatemala. I liked these parts quite much.

I found a link to the November 2018 Excelente magazin at this provider.

 

Air France – Magazine

Collected on 1st December 2018 in the Hugo Junkers Lounge, Dusseldorf Airport

Edition 259 / November 2018
Language(s) French & English
Pages 226
thereof ads 60 (27%)
Special Features
  • Supplement: in-flight shopping catalog (not taken into account)
Comments

You need to wait until page 16 before you find the first editorial contents after a block of advertisement. However, there is quite a lot of contents in this more-than-200-page issue of the Magazine. Most articles feel to be rather short. In some cases, this may also be due to the fact that the English translation is printed after the full French version. This means there are a couple of pages in French followed by some in English. Sometimes, the layout is a “classic” two-column one, though. In general, I felt it hard to read the magazine, as especially for the longer articles, the layout is very much focussing the French text.

Major travel reports deal with Perm, Berlin and Shanghai. Overall, the magazine confused me and felt hard to read. As an aviation nerd, I though got stuck in the route network and fleet presentation at the end of the contents. Due to all the affiliated airlines like Hop!, KLM and Joon, this part is quite long and complex. Air France also does not manage to show all their fleet on a double-pager, but just references the key planes they own. For example, in the section “104 medium-haul aircrafts”, they just show 16 Airbus A321 and 34 A319 stating that they also own 36 A320 and 18 A318.

The Air France online archive of the Magazine unfortunately stops at June 2018, so that I cannot post a link here.

 

British Airways – High Life

Collected on 1st December 2018 on BA 1482 from Heathrow to Glasgow

Edition December 2018
Language(s) English
Pages 112
thereof ads 44 (40%) plus two ad inlets (10 pages)
Special Features
  • Four different covers
Comments

The High Life magazine, something like the “all-passenger-focused” inflight magazine of British Airways, comes with some quite interesting topics. The first major article is called “Why to travel in 2019?” and gives some destinations, followed by even more travel trends in short features. I liked the two longer features about the Lebanese hockey national team and modern Kingston, Jamaica. However, after a feature on watches the magazine is more or less finished and just gives the route map and other ordinary contents.

I could not fine an online version of that magazine.

 

British Airways – Business Life

Collected on 1st December 2018 on BA 1482 from Heathrow to Glasgow

Edition December 2018 / January 2019
Language(s) English
Pages 72
thereof ads 29 (40%)
Special Features
Comments

In contrast to other “Business” magazines of the airlines, you find Business Life in any seat pocket, regardless of the booking class. It is titles with “Trends, Talent, Tech, Thoughts” and “Travel” on the title page – and even gives a reading time of 77 minutes. Despite the magazine is comparably thin with 72 pages, there are really quite some articles which I liked. The title article is about trends expected during 2019. Others deal with two founders of a model agency, the future of flying or a new British Airways destination, Pittsburgh. Maybe I am just very close to their targeted audience, but Business Life gave me a very enjoyable read.

I could review the magazine also online under this link. I am, however, uncertain, whether you will find the archived version of the magazine there as well.

 

Eurowings – Wings

Collected on 9th December 2018 on EW 9394 Dusseldorf – Dublin

Edition November / December 2018
Language(s) German / English
Pages 160
thereof ads 55 pages (35%) plus two fixed inlets with 20 pages of additional ads
Special Features
Comments

With Cologne and Dusseldorf being the two most close by airports from home, Eurowings is one of my most-frequented airlines. The first two articles deal with why to fly in low season and about the life quality in Vienna, Austria.The next article deals with stargazing. The interview feature deals with Lady Gaga. There is a mixture of minor and medium articles. The volume is definitely nice, even though the share of ads seems to be very fine.

An online version of the Wings magazine may be found at this link.

 

Lufthansa – Lufthansa Magazin

Collected on 11th December 2018 LH 981 Dublin to Frankfurt

Edition December 2018
Language(s) German & English
Pages 92
thereof ads 20 (22%) plus a 26 page brochure on Hungary.
Special Features
Comments

Despite the 92-pager is quite thin, Lufthansa’s inflight magazine offers some interesting topics. One recurring section is “What is in your case” and portraits German pop singer Clueso in that issue. The German goldsmith capital Pforzheim is shown in the first major feature, followed by two major articles about hiking in Lapland and the changes in Tunis. Michelle Rodriguez is the topic in the major portrait.

 

Lufthansa shows the contents of the latest magazine at this website.

 

American Airlines – American Way

Collected on 16th December 2018 on AA279 New York / JFK to Orlando

Edition December 2018
Language(s) English
Pages 184
thereof ads 82 (50%) plus four fixed advertisement inlets
Special Features
  • 40-page Spotlight magazine inlet portraying Alabama.
  • (shortened) in flight kitchen menu
Comments

A guy with Western-alike guy holding a guitar case over his shoulder – could it be any better to show the American way? A 50% quota of ads is quite massive, though – and you need to bear in mind that I did not take the four advertisement brochures into account, which are fixed in the magazine. Thus, the 184-pager is not as rich in content as it feels to be. I also felt that the paper is comparably thin – when I checked the number of ads, quite some pages ripped. Nevertheless, there were some quite enjoyable articles, like the Dalas-Fort Worth article features on the title page or an article about electric cars. I also like the very detailed transfer and route network maps, which are very helpful.

You can find the edition of American Way I reviewed under this link. American Airlines also presents the contents of the latest editions of all their magazines on this page.

American Airlines – Nexos

Collected on 16th December 2018 on AA279 New York / JFK to Orlando

Edition December 2018 / January 2019
Language(s) Spanish and Portuguese
Pages 96
thereof ads 36 (38%)
Special Features
Comments

Nexos is a quite interesting in-board magazine product. In addition to the American Way, you find it as cabin literature. Despite it is issued by American Airlines, it is written in Spanish and Portuguese only. Funnily, some adverts are English. With 96 pages, it is rather limited in volume. The magazine is full of nice pictures, which illustrate the articles.

The features about persons introduce Alfonso Cuarón and Cecilia Suárez, who is also on the cover of the magazine. The topics are not too limited, though: you find cooking, travel, fashion and more – about places in more or less all continents (apart from Australia / Oceania). There are no business / ecomomy topics in it, though. The article which I liked most (I neither really speak Spanish nor Portuguese, so I just got parts of the contents) was about salsa dancing in Cali, Columbia. It feels to be interesting to read, but rather short – might be boring if that’s your only literature on a flight to Latin America.

You can review the edition of Nexos I reviewed under this link (external link). American Airlines also presents the contents of the latest editions of all their magazines on this page.

 

American Airlines – Celebrated Living

Collected on 23rd December 2018 on AA518 Orlando – Philadelphia

Edition November / December 2018
Language(s) English
Pages 120
thereof ads 42 (35%)
Special Features
Comments

Similar to the Iberia Ronda magazine, Celebrated Living is limited to Business and First Class passengers, so that you only find it onboard in these travel classes or in the Admiral’s Club Lounges. The first pages – on the editorial as well as on the advertisement side, is a collection of how you can spent a lot of money in a posh way.That felt a bit too much to me. Finally, you hold 120 pages of luxury in your hands – some of the reports are quite interesting, though – I especially liked the view on Malibu and some (posh) insights on Nashville.

You can review the edition of Celebrated Living I reviewed under this link. American Airlines also presents the contents of the latest editions of all their magazines on this page.

 

Air Canada – En Route

Collected on 6th December 2018 in the Air Canada Lounge Frankfurt

Edition December 2018
Language(s) English, French
Pages 190
thereof ads 73 (38%) plus ten pages in an additional travel advertisement.
Special Features
Comments

En Route feels very significant and valuable from the beginning. The glossy paper and the very modern layout which makes it easy to navigate though the magazine are two key factors here. On the other hand, there is quite a lot of advertisement in the magazine. The articles also offer a wide variety of topics. The cover story dealing with snow management in the Rocky Mountains is very interesting. There is also a quite long feature on Sri Lanka – even though Air Canada does not directly connect to the country. Another article deals with driving a skiing resort in remote Manitoba. Overall, if you manage to navigate around the marketing advice, En Rouge is definitely worth reading.

You may find the full version of En Route I reviewed on the Air Canada Homepage.

 

Air Canada – Navi

Collected on 8th November 2018 in the Air Canada Lounge Frankfurt

Edition Fall 2018
Language(s) English & French
Pages 33 pages (contents in inner backside) plus route map plus timetable
thereof ads no ads (0%)
Special Features
  • Seat maps
  • Timetables
Comments

As an aviation nerd, Air Canada’s Navi is just one of my favourites. It is something like the up-to-date technical details of flying the Canadian flagship carrier. For example, you find all plane models Air Canada (including Air Canada Rouge) is currently using including their seatmaps. Of course, there are no seat ratings like at seatguru.com. You also find transfer information for Air Canada’s major hubs. There are also great details like how to order special meals or which brands / kinds of inflight entertainment the airline is using. Air Canada Altitude members find a list of status benefits or worldwide Air Canada (and contracted) lounges. The middle of the magazine features a full route map and the Air Canada timetable. The format of Navi is rather small, roughly A5 format. A very special feature of this one is also that it is ad-free.

This comprehensive technical guide is really helpful when you plan or prepare Air Canada trips. I love to catch it in Air Canada flights or lounges and spent quite a lot of time with it.

Air Canada offers the latest edition of Navi on their website.

 

Lufthansa – Exclusive

Collected by mail

Edition December 2018
Language(s) German
Pages 90
thereof ads 22 (24%) plus an eight page fixed advert
Special Features
  • Preview of the Miles&More Meilenschnäppchen
Comments

Exclusive is the (German only) magazine for Lufthansa Miles&More Frequent Traveller, Senators and HON Circle members. It just feels a bit more exclusive with in-depth magazine reports. The article I liked most in the December 2018 edition was about the “Smokejumpers”, US elite firefighters. There are also some interesting portraits like a former luxury hotel manager who recently became a consultant. A very interesting article features traditional Japanese knife makers. Luxury gadgets also take a significant proportion of the 90-pager: for example, there are some christmas present suggestion (which is in fact a series of pictures) and portrait on a luxury watch designer and Porsche. A very popular feature among frequent travelers is also that the Exclusive magazine tells the Meilenschnäppchen, reduced premium award tickets, some days before they are in fact released.

I could not find an online version of the Exclusive magazine.

 

Lufthansa – Woman’s World

Collected by mail

 

Edition 4 (Winter) 2018
Language(s) German
Pages 76
thereof ads 15 (20%) plus an eight page fixed insert in the middle
Special Features
  • Focused on female readers (but interesting for anyone)
Comments Distributed to German Miles & More status members only

As a German Lufthansa status member, you receive the Woman’s World together with the Exclusive magazine. At the beginning of the magazine, only my wife received this one – nowadays, we both have the same set of prints in the letter box. Thus, you may state a focus change from Magazine for the female Frequent Traveller to Magazine for the women in Frequent Traveller Magazines. I have to say that I like the magazine quite much. It is not a fashion-make up-yellow press thing at all. The first article, for example, deals about a five star resort in Southwestern Turkey. The second major one is about the Italian city Verona and the Romeo & Juliet story which takes place there. There is also a portrait about an indigene Mexican lady who is doing ultra-long running or an article that people more and more face a lack of sleep – so even men may dare a look in this one.

I could not find an online edition of the Woman’s World maganzine.

 

Inflight Magazines – What do I feel?

When I started working on this posting, I felt it will end up naming my favorite inflight magazine (out of the ones presented). I finally felt it would be unfair to name some. I like quite many of them – some are of lower quality, though. Finally, it is a matter of personal taste.

Nevertheless, I feel it is very interesting how different the companies present themselves in their magazines. I feel that apart from the people you get in touch with (like ground staff or flight attendants), the magazine(s) you find in front of your pocket are one of the key factors to feel the brand of the company you are currently flying with. It would be a lot of fun to take deeper analysis, also maybe at differents points in time, to evaluate it – but this topic feels to be very complex, so I just can give you that brief overview. Hope you share my views when you read a magazine next time.

 

 

I roughly estimated the amount of advertising. Thereby I skipped any page, which was covered with ads with less than a quarter. Pages do not include front and backside. I did not count ads for the respective airline.

Copyright on all designs of the inflight magazines by the respective airlines.

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