MEDIA: HIGH LIFE - AN EXPERT'S VIEW. Sheila Byfield enjoys the latest edition of BA's High Life but she wishes there were more laughs

Depending on how you look at it, I am either fortunate or unfortunate to spend a lot of time in the air, often on long-haul flights. I have plenty of opportunity to read airline magazines, and, let's face it, with ten or more hours ahead, there is plenty time for media junkies to overdose.

And as most of my flying is with British Airways, I am well qualified to express opinions about High Life.

To be honest, it is not bad. I wouldn't say that it is greatly different from other airline mags and I prefer its sister publication, Business Life, but there is usually something to fill the time before the meal and the movies are served.

It was a smart idea to move the airline entertainment menu from a separate publication into High Life. There is no choice but to pick it up if you want to find out what movie delights are on offer and I have noticed more passengers reading it than before. (Ignore those people who say they work on planes - most eyeballs are firmly fixed on those little screens the minute the programmes begin.)

High Life is celebrating 30 years in the air this month and, to mark the event, features a leading article on the world's greatest travel experiences - "Travel Immortals". For a glimpse of heaven, I would recommend that you take a look at the tightly fought contest for the Immortal Resort Hotel won by the Amandari in Bali. When I win the lottery.

It also looks back to 1973 through the eyes of Duncan Fallowell, then The Spectator's first pop columnist. He uses old diary entries to try to recall what was going on in swinging London, recalling encounters with icons such as the Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart and many others. His diary appointments are written in "blue, purple, orange, black and green with psychedelic doodles" and his recollections of the period will recapture this colourful period for anyone who was in London at that time.

While High Life usually attracts pretty good writers, such as the BBC's John Simpson, generally the editorial isn't sufficiently punchy to make it a "must read" publication. What is missing is any hint of humour and, let's face it, when boredom thresholds are high there is nothing like a good laugh. Landmark, humorous features along the lines of those in Reader's Digest would go down very well in High Life and would attract more readers.

Having said that, passengers are normally quite relaxed and in a receptive frame of mind to notice and absorb advertising. The ads generally match both the magazine environment and the demographics of the audience very well - at least in business class.

One can drool over luxury boats and beautiful properties to hire. Guess it is the lottery again.

Publisher: Cedar Communications

Frequency: Monthly

Circulation: 194,204

Full-page ad rate: £11,800

Advertisers include: Malvern, Tommy Hilfiger, Lancome, HSBC

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