American Airlines to put an end to its iconic inflight magazine

American Way - end of an era

American Airline to put an end to its iconic inflight magazine
American Way through the years

The oldest inflight magazine in American has fallen victim to the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and a growing apathy towards print in the Western world. American Airlines has announced it will end its inflight magazine, American Way, which began way back in 1966.

American Airlines began filling its seatbacks with American Way — launched as The American Way — in 1966. Since then, the inflight magazine has been a ubiquitous presence on its aircraft, offering perspectives and cultural, lifestyle, or travel-related feature articles. The magazine will retire at the end of June 2021. 

While the last issue of American Way, published by global travel media company Ink, is on planes now. In the magazine’s latest issue, the cover story is on LGBTQ neighborhoods in America. In the magazine’s first issue, travelers were offered tickets with a fifty percent discount for their wives. Flight attendants were called stewardesses in those days. 

American Airlines to stop publication of inflight magazine

According to media reports, the airline is stopping the publication of the inflight magazine due to the changing preferences of travelers. Travelers now prefer other inflight entertainment options alongside the Wi-Fi provided onboard. American Airlines, like other airlines, offers a range of movies and television shows. 

In the coming days, American will introduce new inflight offerings and provide more ways to connect with family and friends. Customers can stream on their phones, tablet, or laptop. “In addition to providing customers with more of what they want, this change will also eliminate some paper waste and reduce weight on our aircraft. We’re always looking for ways to reduce, reuse and recycle in our operation, and we welcome opportunities to take even small steps in the right direction,” the airline said. 

American Airlines is the latest to join other airline companies such as Delta, and Southwest which had earlier retired their respective inflight magazines. This was done during the pandemic and later decided to discontinue them in the future. Delta was the first to stop publishing its inflight magazine, Sky, last year during the height of the pandemic. Southwest followed soon. 


2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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