MEDIA: HOT AIR AND HIGH LIFE: AN EXPERT'S VIEW - Stuart Burnett takes a view on Hot Air and High Life, the newly revamped aeroplane glossies

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

grown-up articles.

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

brands prevailing.

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

Virgin flights.

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)

Frequency: Quarterly

Full-page colour ad: pounds 10,450

Advertisers include: Hewlett-Packard,, Stella


Publisher: Premier Media Partners

Frequency: Monthly

Full-page colour ad: pounds 11,800

Advertisers include: Lancome, Diners Club, Nikon, Vodafone,

Ferragamo,HSBC, Olivetti, Cunard.

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus