Economy affects in-flight magazines
Published: December 23, 2008
|Paying well and producing prestigious clips, in-flight magazines have long been dream publications for freelancers publishing articles of interest to business and leisure travelers. However, economic difficulties in the airline industry are impacting in-flight publications and changing this picture. The information in Ty Treadwell's article "Writing for airline magazines," published in the January 2009 issue of The Writer, was accurate at press time. However, much has changed since December began.|
On Dec. 8, US Airways magazine sent a letter to freelancers announcing that editorial contracts after this date were cancelled. Fortunately, they will be paying kill fees, but this good freelance market has disappeared—at least temporarily. Editors have not been accepting queries since October.
Southwest Airlines' in-flight, Spirit, stopped accepting queries in November and will be written in-house, at least temporarily.
Delta Air Lines is currently merging Northwest Airlines into its operations. As the surviving airline, Delta will continue to publish its in-flight magazine, Sky, while the Northwest in-flight NWA WorldTraveler will no longer be published. Sky will likely remain about its present size, which means fewer opportunities for freelancers due to the merger of the two magazines. In addition, Pace Communications has lost the contract to produce Sky to MSP Communications. The new editorial staff will be named soon.
Meanwhile, United Airlines has transferred the contract for its in-flight magazine, Hemispheres, from Pace Communications to Ink Publishing. Payment rates have been reduced from as much as $2 per word to 45¢ per word. Ink Publishing also produces in-flight magazines Go (AirTran Airways) and My Midwest (Midwest Airlines). These magazines also pay 45¢ per word. Contacts to query include: Hemispheres: Orion Ray-Jones, editorial director, firstname.lastname@example.org; Go: Brooke Porter, managing editor, email@example.com; My Midwest: Sam Polcer, editor-in-chief, firstname.lastname@example.org.
While airline mergers result in the disappearance of some in-flight magazines, future airline start-ups will create new ones.
--Posted Dec. 23, 2008
Houston freelancer John K. Borchardt has published more than 1,200 articles in magazines, newspapers and encyclopedias. He recently wrote 7 steps to thriving in a tough economy" for The Writer Web site.