It’s time to clean out the seat pocket

For many years the shiny in-flight magazine helped us kill time, with tales of adventures to add to future years bucket lists, beautiful photography of far flung places and copious amounts of luxury goods you do not have the space nor money for. 

Covid-19 has seen the removal of all seat back reading material for ease of cleaning, and the question must be asked, besides publishing companies, will anyone miss them? 

Board any flight and most people are

  1. Working
  2. Watching a movie
  3. Watching a TV show on their own device having downloaded a whole series.

Are printed materials still necessary?


What's for lunch?

I am an avid reader, especially of menu cards. I will peruse it multiple times on a flight as I try to decide what to eat or to see what will be served next. 

Do you remember a time, many years ago, when menu cards were not even an option? It was fish or chicken as the trolley rolled passed and you got excited when you received an unannounced snack a few hours later. 

Rather than printing new menu cards and them being replaced after every flight, yes, every flight for Business and First Class on specific airlines, why can it not be available digitally either on the in-flight entertainment system or as an app on a passengers own device.


What airlines can learn from fashion house Zegna and digital

Of greater concern, due to its sheer size, is the magazine.  Filled with few articles, it is mainly an advertising vehicle for the many products on offer through duty free. 

We are not suggesting that the airlines merely upload the magazine in its current format to the in-flight entertainment system for people to read. 

Now is the time to do something truly innovative. 

Just like Zegna artistic director, Alessandro Sartori refuses to just record a catwalk show and upload it online in lieu of Fashion Week.  He has named it, “phygital.”

“My aim is to … use different technology, to provide a deeper, fresher experience. It’s much better to use those resources to do something new—to reset.”

With the customer experience in mind, it is time for the airlines to completely re-think how to create an interactive magazine online. 


  • The design story behind the Apple iPhone
  • The history of Hennessy Cognac and a video tour of the facilities
  • Explanation of how a Samsonite bag is made and the testing it must endure before being commercialized
  • Using augmented reality see how low the Swarovski necklace will sit on your décolletage
  • Include before and after photos of real users of La Mer skincare to show the effects on wrinkles
  • Half hour class on travel photography with the new Sony camera


Wrapping Up

Even pre-Covid, sustainability was driving many organisations to re-think how things were done. 

Now it’s out of necessity.

It will cause organizations to become more innovative but more importantly, it will decrease costs at this unprecedented time with research from Boeing showing savings of up to $4.5 million in fuel costs without the additional weight.  This reduction in fuel usage will also see a reduction in C02 emissions. 

Rather than incremental growth, such as using lighter paper as United Airlines did in 2017, post-Covid is the time to completely re-think the way things are done. 

The world is changing, it is time to live up to its expectations.