You know what it's like. Sat in your aisle seat waiting for the
last stragglers to board, you've wrung the last nuggets of news from
your paper and the prospect of Only Fools and Horses on your personal
screen has you looking for the in-flight mag.
But hey - you're not that bored, yet.
Just then a whining, nasal, New Yorker with the angst of the world on
her face takes her seat beside you. Without hesitation you're reaching
for the solace of the seat-pocket pressing on your knees.
In-flight magazines are an odd breed. They don't sit on the shelf and
seduce you into choosing them and traditionally they couldn't be too
niche interest because of the wide profile of airline passengers.
Virgin and BA, however, are shaking up the status quo. It looks as if
they've taken stock of their passenger profiles, as both have redesigned
their in-flight offerings to appeal to apparently very different
In fact, with just a mere flick through their mags you could tell which
airline brand was more up your jet stream, so to speak.
Virgin has adopted the edgier, urban, Wallpaper-esque route with Hot
Air. The magazine's editorial has a vibrant mix of short, digest-type
material, with funky layouts, typography and graphics, and longer, more
It is genuinely interesting, but I guess that says as much about my
likes and me as it does about the content.
I also like the concise information section on global cities, their
events, flying times, transfers to the city from the airport; it's a
fresh slant on the usual map with its spaghetti of red flight paths.
The ads also have an obviously younger target: gadget, booze and fashion
The BA magazine, High Life, in contrast, has a slightly more upmarket
selection of ads: jewellery, property, prestige cars, but it also has
the kind of corporate ads usually seen on the pages of The
High Life is also a little more sophisticated, with its features by some
of our most revered writers. The layouts are airy, cool and considered,
the typography serene and the photography sumptuous.
Like Hot Air there's a good mix of digest and feature-length material,
but this is more of a shoes off, feet up, loosen that top button
Overall both magazines are interesting, stylish and fit for purpose.
So fear not, frequent flyers, there is now a bloody good reason to
explore beyond the safety instruction card and vomit bag on BA and
My preferred publication in the latest battle of the airlines ... well,
put it this way, I'm not full of the high life.
Publishers: John Brown (editorial) and River Publishing (ad sales)
Full-page colour ad: pounds 10,450
Advertisers include: Hewlett-Packard, queercompany.com, Stella
Publisher: Premier Media Partners
Full-page colour ad: pounds 11,800
Advertisers include: Lancome, Diners Club, Nikon, Vodafone,
Ferragamo,HSBC, Olivetti, Cunard.