Writing For Inflight Magazines: Six Tips From An Editor

As we all know, journalism and travel writing in particular, is very competitive. But have you considered writing for inflight magazines? I receive hundreds of pitches in my inbox every month – here’s how to get yours noticed.

1. Know your audience

Sure, people from all walks of life use airlines, but is there an underpinning theme to the content that’s in the magazine? Is it more luxury or adventure? What is the tone of the magazine? Most in-flight magazines have a website where they post selected articles, so check that out first and get a feel for the publication. Otherwise, call up and ask for them to send you a copy before you pitch anything in. Example in-flight magazines include BA High Life, Qantas Spirit of Australia, or Singapore Airlines’ SilverKris magazine.

2. If in doubt, ask for pitching guidelines

Linked to the first point and especially important for an in-flight magazine, as the audience might not be immediately clear. You’ll get to know what that specific magazine wants and should help make your pitch more clear.

3. Keep it simple

Keep it short and sweet. Create an interesting headline as you’d see it in the airline’s magazine and lead in with a short sentence with a hook. I don’t want to open an email to find a 3000-word essay already attached. The best pitches are ones that pique interest and leave you wanting to know more.

4. Check flight routes

Such an obvious one, but one that most people forget! There’s no point pitching a review of a five-star hotel in Australia if you’re emailing a short-haul airline in Europe or the US. Go on the airline’s website and check where they fly to, and any new routes that have just opened where they could be needing content. As great as your pitch may be, if it’s not promoting a destination close to where the airline flies to, it’s probably not going to get published.

5. Pitch an idea, not a destination

When writing for inflight magazines, always make the pitch about your unique idea, rooted to a destination. Lots of people email saying ‘I’m going on holiday to Thailand…’ but fail to have a great idea behind this. If you’re visiting a place, do some research, and pin an idea to that place. Simply naming a country you’re going on holiday to is too vague.

6. Make it accessible

You might have just come back from the holiday of a lifetime in a safari park in South Africa, but think carefully who would want to read a day-by-day account of your trip. Think critically about your own idea, why should people care? Long travelogues that are too specific often don’t make the cut. Try not to make it a ‘what I did on my holiday’ piece, focus on an interesting aspect, and explore it.

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