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What You Need to Know About In-Flight Magazines

Alex Gaggioli

By Alex Gaggioli



Air travel is not always glamorous, and certainly not always fun. If you think about it, air travel is unique, because unlike cars and trains, you’re trapped. No pit stops, no pictures at state borders, it’s just you and a bunch of strangers trapped in a tin can hurtling through the air. Over the past decade, in-flight entertainment has evolved thanks to new technology. Wifi is available on a large percentage of United States domestic flights and in-flight movies and shows becomes more standard each year. But, a form of entertainment that is as old as air travel itself is the airline’s backseat magazine.

Airline magazines have a lot to compete with. Phones, tablets, laptops, and gaming systems all beg for passengers’ attention. But, airline magazines have long remained a go-to entertainment source for passengers. In-flight technology isn’t always available or reliable. People seek entertainment in their seatback pocket, and magazines deliver. At one point in 2009, the quirky in-flight magazine SkyMall, made $130 million in revenue. Airline magazines have traditionally brought real sales for businesses of all types, including hotels.

These magazines are a great way to reach people who you know for certain travel. Here we’ll explore why these magazines may be a great way to advertise your property.


What are Inflight Magazines


Inflight magazines have always been a way for airlines to share travel stories and tips with their passengers. But, over time these magazines gained a negative stigma for being boring and out of touch. Yet, in recent years magazines have evolved into true lifestyle publications. It’s not uncommon to see stories from top travel journalists or exposés on exotic cuisine. Many airlines focus on a specific type of traveler. Some airlines, like RyanAir, focus on the fluff. They care about speaking to the cheap traveler in a voice that resonates with them, according to CNN. Other magazines, like Delta’s Sky or Qantas’ The Australian Way cater to an older, more mature market. They share stories about luxury travel and the number one restaurants in each city.


Airline In-flight Magazines are Still Relevant

In-flight magazines have maintained their relevance by adapting to new audiences. These publications are also unique because they cater to an audience that cannot escape them. So, in short, they have the ability to steal their readers attention.



As mentioned above, in-flight magazines are unique because of their audience is captive and often times affluent. Travel brands and other businesses can capitalize on passengers’ interests by advertising to them side-by-side travel related content.

While not everyone will pick up a magazine, and some who do won’t be in the target market, they still offer a unique opportunity.

In-flight magazines are a prime opportunity for hotels to advertise to potential guests’ future trips. 78% of short trip hotels are booked under a month before arrival, which coincides with the monthly magazine print cycle, according to Ink Global. Inflight magazines cater to people who like to travel, and who better to target then people already traveling.


New Technology

While technology threatens in-flight magazines, gadgets can’t always compete to steal all the attention. Smartphones and tablets still aren’t able to connect to cellular networks on planes so functionality decreases quickly. Many flights offer wifi, but it often comes at an added cost. And on top of that, the networks have streaming limitations and go in and out throughout the flight.

Onboard technology such as movies, tv shows, and music are also growing in popularity. However, these technologies often come at a cost, especially in the United States.  

In the future as wifi and other onboard technology increases, magazines may have to have to adapt to digital formats. United’s Hemispheres already offers an e-version of their magazine and we expect that to become a norm in the future. That said, just like the Kindle didn’t destroy books, airline magazines will be around for quite some time.

How to Advertise



Know Your Audience

Before you jump into advertising, make sure you have a firm grasp of who your target market is. Know their basic demographics like age, gender, and income level as well as travel behaviors. Some airlines, like United and Delta, cater to a more affluent audience. Whereas airlines like RyanAir and Frontier cater to a more budget friendly audience.

You likely already know where your guests are coming from, so target airlines that frequently go to and from your destination. For example, if many of your guests come from the Midwest, you may want to target United because their hub is in Chicago. Or if you have many guests from the South, Delta may be a better option.

The airline magazines will have advertising pages with detailed information about their passenger demographics. Many of the sites will also have case studies highlighting their partners’ successes.


Advertising Resources

There are several businesses who offer media solutions solely for airlines. Using a media agency who has already partnered with airlines will help you not only choose the most effective airline, but also save time.


Advertising and Media Agencies

Doing your own research is essential, but working with experts can help you get insider knowledge that will benefit your success.

IMM International

IMM international is an independent media agency that specializes in in-flight advertising. They recommend and sell media space for 150 airlines worldwide. They offer services for inflight magazines, entertainment spots, and more. They claim to be a one-stop shop for all things in-flight media.

Ink Global

Ink Global is another advertising and media company that can help you advertise in inflight magazines. They have partnered with over 25 magazines in eight languages. They say that in-flight magazines are read for an average of 25 minutes by 97% of passengers.


Airline Websites

If you know which airlines you would like to advertise with, you can go directly to the source. Every airline is different and will supply different information and have different requirements.

Alaska Airlines

For example, Alaska Airlines Magazine provides their editorial calendar so that you can align your ad to what they’re writing and sharing. They also provide contact information as well as pricing and other information. 

United Airlines

United Airline’s media center provides information on how to advertise in their magazine as well as many other places as well. They provide detailed information about their passengers as well as case studies and galleries of advertisers’ past work.


Qantas airlines, one of Australia’s most popular airlines, offers many key stats in their media kit. Their magazine has approximately 442,000 readers per month, average 47 years old, 59% male and 41% female, and have an average personal income of $122,990. The smallest advertisements begin at 35,123 $AUD.


Southwest’s’ magazine is read by almost 5 million every issue. They do not list prices and/or sizing for different opportunities, but you can request a media kit here.


Delta is another great airline to advertise with if you’re trying to reach an American customer base. There is not much information about sizing and pricing on their website, but you can find their contact number and email here.

These are just a handful of the most popular airlines. Almost every airline still creates their own magazine. Check out the top airlines for your destination to get the most out of your advertising.




In a cluttered world of technology, inflight magazines offer a unique opportunity for hotels to reach frequent travelers. Magazine advertisements allow businesses to market to their target market while they are in a very localized environment. If your property’s guests travel by plane, you should consider running ads in printed inflight magazines.

Interested to see how Cloudbeds can supercharge your property?
Published on 15 October, 2018
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About Alex Gaggioli

Alex Gaggioli
Alex Gaggioli is a digital marketing manager. He lives in sunny San Diego, near Cloudbeds headquarters. When he’s not firing off on social media, you can find him at the beach or checking out the newest restaurant in town.
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