In-Flight Print Thrives at 30,000 Feet

inflightmagazinesDoomsayers have been predicting that the inflight magazine industry will fall from the sky as soon as Wi-Fi is allowed on aircrafts. Not so, argues Kerstin Zumstein, Ink Global’s editorial director. 

When airline passengers are allowed to connect via Wi-Fi on all flights, where does that leave the de rigeur inflight magazine in the seat pocket in front on you?

Alive and well, according to Ink’s editorial director Kerstin Zumstein, who was interviewed by Piet van Niekirk in FIPP.

“The inflight magazines we produce at Ink add an upgraded, emotional quality to the passenger experience that only print can offer,” she explains. (Ink produces inflight titles for 25 airlines, reaching 656 million passengers each year.)

“Even the airlines that offer Wi-Fi on planes, such as Norwegian or United Airlines, still request quality print magazines from us. Not only because passengers enjoy leaning back and reading good travel stories on board, but often our magazines are also taken from the aircraft to be perused at home or during their travels,” Zumstein continues.

The key to sustaining any in-flight magazine’s popularity, she notes, is the quality of the content.

“We often speak of a captive audience but it’s more than that. Our research has shown that passengers, whether business or leisure, are already planning their next trip while on a plane, so readers are open to aspirational travel content,” Zumstein notes.

Of course, she’s a realist, and the company is producing digital content for consumers who might prefer that on their Wi-Fi enabled flights.

“But still I feel a screen simply doesn’t do justice to a gorgeous photo essay. Only a generous print layout can convey that sense of place. Everywhere else in publishing world, editorial budgets are being cut. We, however, are sending our journalists and photographers around the world to capture unique stories, best appreciated when leaning back and indulging in a beautifully crafted magazine, printed on paper and held in your hand,” she notes.

The award-winning company has a great track record when it comes to producing award-winning publications, as van Niekirk notes in the article. They understand their audience, and they understand the power of the medium to engage with them on those long flights far from home.