That seatback pocket is good for many things: storing airsickness bags, your electronics, and occasionally unwanted trash. The original occupants, however, are the infamous inflight airline magazine, the SkyMall, and the safety card.
On a recent trip to Spain, I found even sexier magazines in the seatback pockets on Spain’s boutique LCC, Vueling. If you want to look like you know what you’re doing, stick to these airline magazines and you’ll be the talk of the airport.
Afar is a beautiful magazine which not only has spectacular articles but also incredible pictures. Between the two, Afar immerses the reader in travel experiences to faraway places and exotic destinations that many people only dream of visiting. One of my favorite sections of Afar is the Postcards section, where readers send in photos that are often tear-jerking, stunning, or somehow filled with emotion and are moving as well. Something that was also surprising to me is the tastefulness of the advertisements. Like with any successful magazine, ads are a big part, but none of the ads are obnoxious, and most also feature stunning photos and text that fits right in with the content of the magazine, thereby leading the reader to enjoy their reading experience even more. Bi-monthly, $4.99 per issues. afar.com
Latitudes is the inflight magazine of American Eagle, the regional subsidiary of American Airlines. Coming onboard I did not expect much, as I had never seen a dedicated inflight magazine on a regional partner. I was very pleasantly surprised, though. The magazine focus specifically on cities that American Eagle serves, and the graphics in the magazine are very elaborate and aesthetically pleasing. Even though the content was limited (only three main articles), the articles were rather long and contained a ton of information about the city and basically serves as a comprehensive guide of “where to stay and what to do.” For an hour-long flight to JFK, this magazine occupied almost all of my attention and was great to have onboard. Bi-monthly, complimentary onboard American Eagle flights. eaglelatitudes.com
Sky is the inflight magazine of Delta Air Lines, one that I have been impressed with for quite a while. Sky is what every airline magazine should be, a fusion of hot topics, elegant layouts, and interesting articles that pique the interest of the reader. Delta is really an all things inclusive magazine. It’s a combination of history, gossip, photos, interviews, and globally appealing news. Sky also makes heavy use of colorful infographics that are popular in the social world, which relate real life statistics with photos and colors in order to show the reader a really captivating statistic. Monthly, complimentary onboard Delta and Delta Connection flights. deltaskymag.com
Pacha was both creepy and captivating at the same time. As I took my seat on a recent Vueling flight from Madrid to Alicante, I found the magazine in the seatback pocket of the airplane, with Pete and Carolina Tong (pictured at right) staring back at me. Pacha touts itself as the official lifestyle magazine of popular Spanish party town Ibiza, and it not only lived up to that expectation, but it exceeded as well. Pacha would cost $10 or more in the United States; it’s one of those booklet thick magazines (the issue that I read was a full 242 pages). Pacha seems like part local communique, part style magazine, and part gossip hound. From the local crime report in the first few pages to the photos of the most chic parties in the last few, Pacha was a magazine that I got completely lost in. I got up and down glances when I carried it through the Madrid airport as well, so if you want to look like you’re in the know, then just flash around Pacha. Monthly, May-September. Complimentary on the islands of Ibiza and Formentera and onboard Vueling flights. pacha.com
Rounding out this top five is Ling, the official inflight magazine of Spanish boutique LCC Vueling. At 70 pages, Ling is short and sweet. Much like Afar, Ling is all about the experience, except with a Spanish focus. The magazine focuses on eight or ten Vueling cities throughout their network, and writes about a group of people doing something spectacular in that city. Ling struck me with its poignant cover which, like the one at left, featured only a few words and a beautiful picture of an ancient Spanish building. The magazine is written in both English and Spanish, so that native readers as well as foreigners can experience all that Spain has to offer, and all that Ling has to share. Monthly, complimentary onboard Vueling flights and available for mail subscription, with prices starting at EUR40. lingmagazine.es