The fine art of sky writing

Is it a magazine or just a freebie? Russell Hotten buckles up to read through publications on offer at 36,000ft


American Airlines

American Airlines

AMERICAN WAY

The world's biggest airline carries 130 million passengers a year. Shame, then, that this captive audience is not offered a more inspiring read. Seems to be aimed at business travellers, but there's a sparky piece on poker and the magazine isn't dominated by articles plugging holiday destinations.

Lufthansa

MAGAZIN

Producing a dual-language magazine is not easy, but this is messy. The layout makes it difficult to navigate your way through some of the items. Woefully short features on Johnny Depp and Christopher Lee. As for the chairman's introduction: thanks, but I already know that technology is important for aviation.

Emirates

OPEN SKIES

Has the look and feel (and smell) of a heavyweight glossy magazine, including those endless pages of adverts. More generalist than many of its rivals. Has regular columnists, in this issue writing about "psychopaths" in the office and computing. Plenty of other non-travel items, including an interview with Susan Sarandon.

Kenya Airways

MSAFIRI

A good inflight magazine should improve your mood, not just pass the time. Msafiri struggles to do either. Putting a picture of a zebra on the cover is hardly original, especially when the inside pages have some striking photography. The first 53 pages are dominated by puff pieces for Kenya Airways and irrelevant news items.

British Airways

HIGH LIFE

A stylish mix of features, fashion and photography. Unlike many rivals, High Life publishes lengthy articles. In this issue chef Antonio Carluccio makes a foodie tour of Turin, and there's a reprise of the Britpop revolution. The only pure holiday feature is about lesser known islands around the Mediterranean.

Korean Air

MORNING CALM

A surprise hit. No section on boys' toys. No fashion shoot. No introduction from the airline's chairman. And only 10 adverts in 178 pages. But stuffed full of great photography. Kicks off with a "what's on in Korea" section, and the next third is in English. If the paper quality was better, it would not look out of place on your coffee table.

easyJet

easyJet

Cheap and cheerful mag aimed at the young and trendy. But surely not all easyJet's passengers are teenagers with short attention spans. There's a readable interview with Moby, and an original feature on Dutch fashion. But an article on golfers is wasted space. The regularly updated city guides are a good reference aid.

Continental Airlines

CONTINENTAL

The unoriginal title says it all. Whereas other mags have gadgets sections promoting computing or music equipment, Continental's page includes a hedge trimmer. The dreary front cover trumpets a major feature about Dell Computers. But the article is short, and leaves an impression that this magazine is about just filling space.

Virgin Atlantic

CARLOS

Unlike anything else on the market, but available only in upper class. The award-winning Carlos is a booklet printed on a sort of expensive writing paper, and oozes quality. Cartoons to browse and amuse, plus good writing. Carlos publishes short stories, which, frankly, should be an ingredient of every good inflight magazine.

Adria Airways

ADRIA

Inflight journals should enhance an airline's image, and based on this one Adria Airways must be a quality outfit. Adria is printed on rich satin paper, with a crisp modern design. A quarterly publication, it knows the value of good photography. But a lack of picture captions is slightly irritating.

Alaska Airlines

ALASKA AIRLINES

How predictable: a cover feature on huskies. But this is a great read, written by an expert in the field. Alaska Airlines prints long articles that can properly explore the subject matter. Strong on "great outdoors" articles. It has a simple layout and user-friendly typeface, but some articles are just squeezed in among the adverts.

bmi

VOYAGER

Just relaunched so may need a few issues to bed down. A clean and modern design using plenty of white space, but with the sort of front cover you've seen in dozens of newsagents' shelves. This issue is an India special marking bmi's launch of services there, so you never forget it's an inflight mag.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
peopleJonathan Ross has got a left-field suggestion to replace Clarkson
Sport
Lewis Hamilton secured his second straight pole of the season
f1Vettel beats Rosberg into third after thunderstorm delays qualifying
Arts and Entertainment
The teaser trailer has provoked more questions than answers
filmBut what is Bond's 'secret' that Moneypenny is talking about?
News
Johnny Depp is perhaps best known for his role as Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean
peopleBut how did he break it?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Sport
football This was Kane’s night, even if he played just a small part of it
Travel
travel Dreamland Margate, Britain’s oldest amusement park, is set to reopen
News
news
News
Founders James Brown and Tim Southwell with a mock-up of the first ever ‘Loaded’ magazine in 1994
media
News
Threlfall says: 'I am a guardian of the reality keys. I think I drive directors nuts'
people
Voices
voices The group has just unveiled a billion dollar plan to help nurse the British countryside back to health
News
The Westgate, a gay pub in the centre of Gloucester which played host to drag queens, has closed
news
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Ashdown Group: Web Developer - ASP.NET, C#, MVC - London

£45000 - £55000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Web Developer -...

Ashdown Group: .NET Developer : ASP.NET , C# , MVC , web development

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits - see advert: Ashdown Group: .N...

Guru Careers: 3D Package Designer / 3D Designer

£25 - 30K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an exceptional 3D Package Designer / 3...

Guru Careers: Interior Designer

£Competitive: Guru Careers: We are seeking a strong Middleweight / Senior Inte...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss