The world’s longest continually published in-flight magazine, which is said to have reached as many as 193 million people every year, is to be retired at the end of June, American Airlines announced on Thursday.
American Way magazine, or The American Way as it was originally named, was first published in 1966 but the presses have already stopped printing new copies of the magazine which will be removed from all American Airlines planes at the end of this month.
An iconic part of the American Airlines flying experience, the magazine has lost relevance in recent years as passengers stopped flicking through dog eared magazines and turned to in-flight WiFi and their own downloaded shows and magazines to keep them entertained on flights.
American Airlines said it was shifting its attention away from the magazine to other entertainment options for customers that give them “the content they want most”. The airline teased some yet to be revealed offerings that it says will “inspire the wanderlust and provide even more ways to connect with family and friends while flying at 35,000 feet.”
The decision to ditch American Way follows the lead of both Delta and Southwest who retired their in-flight magazines in response to the pandemic. American Airlines temporarily removed the printed version of American Way at the start of the pandemic but it made a return with copies printed on paper treated with an antimicrobial chemical.
British Airways also removed its in-flight magazine, which had been in circulation for more than half a century, as a response to the pandemic. The magazine is now only available as a download on passengers own digital devices.
The decision to remove American Way isn’t just a response to the pandemic or changing consumer habits. It could also mean huge cost savings. When United switched to a slightly lighter type of paper for its in-flight magazine, it saved more than 170,000 gallons of fuel a year – equivalent to around $290,000.
Interestingly, United is now bucking the trend by still publishing its Hemispheres in-flight magazine.
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Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently used by some of the biggest names in journalism.