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Travel Writing: Explore 20 World-Class In-Flight Magazines That Pay

Evan Jensen

Pitch In-Flight Magazines for Paid Travel Writing Gigs. Makealivingwriting.comSit back and enjoy the flight. If travel writing is your niche, that standard flight-attendant message should get your attention.

Let me explain.

With the Thanksgiving holiday in the rear-view mirror, an estimated 30 million people in the U.S. are back home or back to work after catching a plane to celebrate. Many more travelers will book flights between now and New Year’s.

And for every passenger, there’s a little something for them in the seat pocket in front of them. No, I’m not talking about the barf bag. It’s the in-flight magazine.

You won’t find many of these custom pubs in Writer’s Market (there’s only two listed).

But nearly every airline in the world has one. And most in-flight magazines depend on freelancers for travel writing pieces, profiles, features, and front-of-book content.

The big bonus? Unlike many online travel markets, in-flight magazines usually pay solid rates.

Want some of those travel writing assignments? Explore these 20 world-class in-flight magazines and start pitching. But first, I’ve made a quick video with a few pitching tips for you:

1. Alaska Beyond

Not all in-flight magazines openly publish writer’s guidelines, but Alaska Beyond is one that does. About 75 percent of this magazine is written by freelancers. Best way to break in: Pitch a short piece for “The Feed” department. Pays $150 to $700 based on assignment.

In-flight magazine for: Alaska Airlines
Published by: Paradigm Communications Group
Editor: Paul Frichtl

2. American Way

The estimated readership for American Way is kind of crazy. About 200 million people board an American Airlines flight every year. Check the media kit for reader demographics, cover stories, and departments to pitch story ideas about destinations, food, sports, music, entertainment, and more.

In-flight magazine for: American Airlines
Published by: Ink Global
Editor: Bill Kearney

3. b.inspired

Got a travel writing idea for world-class destination? Brussels Airlines magazine, b.inspired, features stories about people, ideas, culture, society, food, fashion, travel and business anywhere this airline flies (that’s three continents).

In-flight magazine for: Brussels Airlines
Published by: Ink Global
Editor: Vicky Lane

4. Celebrated Living

Even if you’re a frequent flyer on American Airlines, you may not have seen this magazine. Celebrated Living is published exclusively for first-class passengers. Pitch story ideas for an affluent audience about travel, food, culture, fashion, accessories, property, or emotionally and spiritually enriching experiences.

In-flight magazine for: American Airlines (first class)
Published by: Ink Global
Editor: Erick Newill

5. Delta Sky

Here’s another in-flight magazine that publishes writer’s guidelines. Carol happens to be a regular contributor to Delta Sky, including a story in the November 2018 issue. Pitch story ideas about food, sports, lifestyle, business, and travel (including international destinations).

In-flight magazine for: Delta Airlines
Published by: MSP Communications
Editor: Sarah Elbert

6. enRoute

In-flight magazine for: Air Canada
Published by: Spafax Canada Inc.
Editor: Caitlin Walsh Miller

“We engage our audience through intelligent writing, insight, humour and spot-on service journalism,” says Editor-in-chief Jean-François Légaré. Study the guidelines, back issues, and media kit before pitching a story idea.

7. Hana Hou!

“Hana hou!” means “one more time. It’s an islander phrase you’ll hear from a crowd after a performance. This custom pub is primarily aimed at vacationers. Query with story ideas about the people, places, events, and culture that makes the Hawaiian Islands special.

In-flight magazine for: Hawaiian Airlines
Published by: Pacific Travelogue Inc.
Editor: Michael Shapiro

8. Hemispheres

The United Airlines in-flight magazine, Hemispheres, happens to be one of two in-flight magazines listed in Writer’s Market listed with a $$$ pay rate. And it’s one of many in-flight magazines published by Ink Group. Publishes stories about global culture, adventure, business, entertainment, and sports. For personal essays, check out “Three Perfect Days” feature.

In-flight magazine for: United Airlines
Published by: Ink Global
Editor: Ellen Carpenter

9. High Life

You’ll need to have a sense of British irreverence, wit and attitude to write for British Airway’s magazine, High Life. It’s a perfect market for travel writing pieces about international destinations, vacations, and luxury living.

In-flight magazine for: British Airways
Published by: Cedar Communications
Editor: Andy Morris

10. n

Page through issues of Norwegian Air’s magazine, n, and you’ll find stories about space travel, dining on insects, exploring the Arctic, destination guides to more than 130 cities, and more. Get to know the magazine and readers, and study the media kit before pitching.

In-flight magazine for: Norwegian Air
Published by: Ink Global
Editor: Sara Warwick

11. Open Skies

Emirates Airlines carries more than 3 million passengers a month to places like Dubai, Sri Lanka, London, Switzerland, Maldives, Indonesia, and more. Read the current issue here, and study back issues before pitching a travel writing piece.

In-flight magazine for: Emirates Airlines
Published by: Motivate Publishing
Editor: Georgina Lavers

12. Oryx

Qatar. It’s one of the smallest countries in the world located in the Middle East. It’s a hub for oil production. But it’s also a destination place for wealthy travelers served by Qatar Airways. Last year Orynx went through a redesign, and adopted a monthly-theme format for each issue. Study the magazine and get to know the readership before pitching.

In-flight magazine for: Qatar Airways
Published by: Ink Global
Editor: Mandi Keighran

13. Qantas: Sprit of Australia Magazine

Qantas Editor Kirsten Galliot has earned Editor of the Year at the Publish Awards three years in a row for this Australian-based in-flight magazine. Qantas features stories, profiles and features about the best destinations, restaurants, top hotels, and food in Australia and around the world. Read the current issue and back issues here before pitching.

In-flight magazine for: Qantas Airways
Published by: Medium Rare Content
Editor: Kirsten Galliot

14. Sawubona

Take a closer look at the in-flight magazines listed here, and you’ll notice they’re all managed by media or publishing companies, and not the airlines. And that includes Sawubona (in Zulu it means: “We see you. Hello. Welcome.”), the in-flight magazine for South African Airways, published by Ndalo Media. Publishes stories about travel, business and lifestyle articles for areas served by South African Airways.

In-flight magazine for: South African Airways
Published by: Ndalo Media
Editor: Ingrid Wood

15. Scandinavian Traveler

Open the current issue of Scandinavian Traveler, and you’ll find stories about an Egyptian billionaire who built a European ski resort, a prolific fiction writer, California wine, the popularity of podcasting, and much more. Pitch stories about places, people, lifestyle, food and drink. FYI: Travel writing features are a staple for this magazine.

In-flight magazine for: Scandinavian Airlines
Published by: Off the Wall
Editor: Anna-Lena Ahlberg Jansen

16. SilverKris

Wondering what SilverKris means? A “kris” is a 14th century Malaysian weapon thought to have magical abilities. Later the “kris” became a family heirloom passed down to the younger generation, along with its stories. That’s where Singapore Airlines got the name for it’s in-flight magazine. Publishes stories about Singapore-based events, celebrities, experts, fashion and destinations.

In-flight magazine for: Singapore Airlines
Published by: Ink Global
Editor: Delle Chan

17. Smile

Look through the latest issue of Smile, the in-flight magazine for Cebu Pacific Air based in the Philippines, and you’re read about Crazy Rich Asians star Henry Golding, an outdoor wonderland in Malaysia, a curious attraction in Bangkok, Thailand, and much more. Study the magazine and back issues before pitching. Travel writing stories and celebrity interview are a staple of this magazine.

In-flight magazine for: Cebu Pacific Air
Published by: Ink Global
Editor: Kimberly Koo

18. Southwest: The Magazine

Need some help coming up with stories to pitch Southwest: The Magazine for Southwest Airlines? Check out the editorial calendar for 2019. Writing for the January issue is out. But take a look at deadlines for the rest of the year. Southwest plans to publish stories about music, Hawaiian vacations, summer season travel, food, college football, pets, winter travel, spirits, and more.

In-flight magazine for: Southwest Airlines
Published by: Pace Communications
Editor: Tommie Ethington

19. Traveller

If you’ve been paying attention to the names of custom publishers that handle in-flight magazines, you’ll notice Ink Group practically owns the niche. It’s not the only custom publisher for in-flight magazines, but its portfolio includes more than two dozen in-flight and travel-related magazines, including Traveller.

It’s the in-flight magazine for easyJet Airlines. This low-cost airline based in London that carries passengers to over 820 destinations in more than 30 countries. Traveller features a mix of stories about travel, sports, business and lifestyle, from around the world. Check out the most recent issue here.

In-flight magazine for: easyJet Airlines
Published by: Ink Global
Editor: Jonny Ensall

20. Vera

Forget about pitching Vera, the in-flight magazine for Virgin Atlantic Airways, for just a minute. Go read the profile of Ann Dowd (aka Aunt Lydia from The Handmaid’s Tale) in the November 2018 issue. Then page through the rest of the magazine to get a sense for the magazine’s style and content. Features about travel, entertainment, fashion, destinations, food, and more.

In-flight magazine for: Virgin Atlantic Airways
Published by: Ink Global
Editor: Claire Bennie

Travel writing for in-flight magazines

In case you’re wondering, this is just a small sample of in-flight magazines that publish travel writing and other stories for jet-setting passengers. It’s worth exploring this hidden niche of travel writing markets, because most in-flight magazines use freelance writers for 75 percent or more for every issue.

Want to land a travel writing assignment for an in-flight magazine? Follow these basic steps:

  • Study back issues and site content. It’s really the only way to get to know your market’s style and start thinking like the editor. Read through writer’s guidelines, media kit, and editorial calendar if available.
  • Write and proofread your pitch. Take the time to write a great pitch or query letter with research, interviews, and other resources. Proofread every word, or ask a fellow writer to proofread your pitch before you send it to an editor.
  • Accept feedback. If you hear back from an editor with a rejection, don’t give up. Study up on the publication, find out how to improve, and give it another shot.
  • Keep going. Even pro writers get rejected or never hear back from an editor. Laugh it off, and keep going. It’s a numbers game. The more pitches you send out, the more likely you are to land an assignment.

Have you written for in-flight magazines? Let’s discuss on Facebook or LinkedIn.

Evan Jensen is the blog editor for Make a Living Writing. When he’s not on a writing deadline or catching up on emails, he’s training to run another 100-mile ultra-marathon.

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