In-flight publications are a unique breed in the magazine industry. Geared toward the flying public – which is a fairly broad demographic – they offer a wide range of articles, essays and shorts on everything from travel and food to politics and current events. Given this diversity, each publication is still very specific when it comes to their editorial needs. For example, destinations are everything; a magazine from an airline that flies to southeastern American cities usually only accepts articles about those locales. This offers an excellent opportunity for writers, since your backyard is basically their bread and butter. But, don’t despair. Many also publish business and human-interest articles. Studying each market is the key.
In-flight magazines are not always very accepting of beginning writers. While they’re designed to appeal to all travelers, they do tend to cater to a more upscale market, and as such they demand top-notch writing and credentials. Writers with limited clips will probably not be welcomed into the features section with open arms. It’s best to focus on a magazine’s smaller departments and craft succinct queries based on first-hand experience. Once you have your foot in the door, it will be much easier to pitch feature articles, especially if you live in or around one of the airline’s destinations.
In-flight magazines are typically known as well-paying markets, although they’re often cagey about rates in their writer’s guidelines, usually referring to a cost per word system based on a writer’s experience and the difficulty of the assignment. But the standard rate often hovers around $1.00 per word and pay is almost always within 30 days of acceptance.
So, check out the guidelines below, become familiar with each publication, and you may soon be flying high on an in-flight masthead!
Attache Magazine (US Airways) – http://www.attachemag.com/
Guidelines – Click on “Writer’s Guidelines” on their homepage.
Attache takes a unique approach when it comes to their editorial agenda; the magazine focuses on the “best of” any given city or subject. One department, for example, features 350-word articles and short lists on everything from “the best home tool” to “the best ice cream in Paris.” In addition, the magazine runs four main features of 1,000 to 2,000 words each in every issue. Query via snail mail only.
RedHot (Virgin Express) – http://www.ontoeurope.com/
Guidelines – Available via email
Virgin Express flies to many exotic European destinations and its magazine, RedHot, reflects that continental feel. Trendy and stylish, the publication has departments that focus on celebrities, business, property, food, drink and more. Its readership is predominantly Belgium, and many of them are business travelers. Queries accepted via email or snail mail.
America West (America West) – http://www.skyword.com/index.html
Guidelines – http://www.skyword.com/edit.html
Divided into six editorial sections, America West focuses on health, business, fine living, news, products and entertainment. Features run 800-1000 words and short items are 150-300 words. The magazine is looking for “news, trends and fresh perspectives” that will appeal to both their business and leisure consumers. Queries accepted only via email.
EnRoute (Air Canada) – http://www.enroutemag.com
Guidelines – http://www.enroutemag.com/e/writers/index.html
Billing itself as a bilingual, travel lifestyle magazine, EnRoute’s focus is international in scope. They’re looking for features, short pieces, profiles and essays that speak to affluent, travel-savvy readers. In addition, they prefer a fresh, forward approach and a “tone that is personal, highly narrative and opinionated.” Query via email. Pays $1 Canadian per word.
Hana Hou! (Hawaiian Airlines) – http://www.hanahou.com
Guidelines – http://www.hanahou.com/about.htm#WritersGuidelines
Hana Hou! is Hawaiian Airlines in-flight magazine and as such focuses on all things Hawaiian. They provide an insider’s view to the region and a writer who lives in one of the airline’s destination cities will have an edge. New writers should query for shorter pieces, and the magazine does ask that the first article be done on spec. Query via snail mail only. Pay is $0.35 per word for features, $150 for the section “Native Intelligence.”
SkyWest (SkyWest Airlines) – http://www.skywestmagazine.com
Guidelines – http://www.skywestmagazine.com/EditorialGuidelines.htm
SkyWest sets itself apart from the other in-flight magazines by focusing on “smaller communities in more out-of-the-way locations.” Departments include “The Last Word,” which is an interview with a business owner and frequent flier, “Spotlights,” which features the advantages of specific communities and “ArtWatch,” which focuses on artists living and working in the SkyWest region. Query via email.
Continental (Continental Airlines) – http://magazine.continental.com/content/
Guidelines – http://www.pohlypartners.com/work_for_us/continental.html
With articles ranging in length from 300-1800 words, and subjects as diverse as travel, culture, health-care and education, Continental magazine prides itself on providing “a little something for everyone.” Writers new to the magazine are encouraged to start with the shorter pieces, such as “Go” and “Idea Makers.” Query via email.
Kelly Kyrik is a successful freelancer and her credits include Writer’s Digest, Writer’s Market, the Chicago Tribune, LowCarb Energy, Cat Fancy and more. She also designs websites for both writers and small businesses. You can visit her website at http://www.tech-know-girl.com, and contact her at kyrik (at) comcast.net.