After more than half a century in airplane seatback pockets, the American Airlines in-flight magazine American Way is going away.
An airline spokeswoman said Friday that American will retire the magazine and its online version at the end of June.
American says it's the oldest continuously published magazine in the airline industry, dating back to 1966. American Way went from yearly to quarterly and then monthly, filled with stories about the airline, destinations it served, and an assortment of other features. There were also airport terminal maps and other information toward the back. It spawned imitators at many other airlines.
The pandemic hastened the demise of in-flight magazines, as airlines pulled them last year to prevent people from thumbing through pages that had been touched by other passengers. Delta and Southwest dropped theirs, and British Airways stopped stocking paper copies of High Life while keeping the online version.
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Last year New Zealand's in-flight magazine Kia Ora was removed from planes during a three-month pandemic hiatus. The paper copy returned to seat pockets in August 2020, in partnership with Tourism New Zealand to boost domestic routes.
But the days of the in-flight magazine were numbered anyway, as passengers began spending more time browsing other information and entertainment on their phones, tablets and laptops.
"American Way was an institution,'' travel analyst Henry Harteveldt told USA Today. "But … I don't think frequent travelers or infrequent travelers will notice or really care to any great degree if the magazine disappears. And certainly nobody ever chose an airline because of the in-flight magazine.''
American said it will provide other in-flight programming to give customers "more of what they want" while reducing paper waste and unnecessary weight on planes.
- Associated Press