British Airways Scraps Its High Life Magazine After Half A Century

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British Airways today revealed that it is pulling printed copies of its High Life magazine from all flights. The publication, which has been in circulation for almost half a century, will be replaced with a downloadable digital edition. The airline said that the COVID pandemic had prompted the change.

British Airways, High Life Magazine, Scrapped
Much like this Boeing 747, the British Airways High Life Magazine has taken its last flight. Photo: British Airways

In-flight magazines have been a staple of the flying experience. They allowed for an airline to provide information and gather sponsorships while simultaneously giving passengers something to kill time on a long flight. However, it seems as though final boarding has been called for the publications, sped up by the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Bye-bye High Life

One particular publication that the COVID-19 pandemic has bid farewell to is the High Life magazine in circulation on British Airways flights. As the virus is spread through touch, an increased focus has been placed on disinfecting high-touch surfaces. However, disinfecting a magazine is not the most straightforward process.

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With this in mind, after 47 years, British Airways will stop placing the High Life magazine in seat-back pockets on its aircraft. Instead, the magazine will be distributed digitally. Every executive club member will get a monthly email with the publication. Meanwhile, passengers onboard will be able to download it for free from the aircraft’s WiFi.

British Airways, High Life Magazine, Scrapped
The magazine will now only be released digitally. Photo: British Airways

Commenting on the removal of physical copies, Hamish McVey, British Airways’ Head of Brand and Marketing said,

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“We know our customers value technology and a contactless journey, especially in the current climate, so we are delighted to now be able to provide over five million customers a month with digital High Life.”

A hidden benefit?

COVID-19 has brought about the change to High Life. However, could there be a second benefit from removing the magazine from flights?

Before the pandemic, the focus of aviation this year was thought to be on the environment and sustainably. Removing the inflight magazine ticks two boxes here. Firstly, it means that British Airways will not need to print tens of thousands of magazines every month, saving on paper and the environmental footprint of production.

However, additionally, the weight will have been removed from inside the cabin. At first, it sounds insignificant. However, when you multiply the effect across all flights for a year, the weight savings will start to add up. In August 2019, Simple Flying weighed a selection of the centenary copy of the airline’s magazine.

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British Airways, High Life Magazine, Scrapped
Customers will still have an excellent view to help pass the time. Photo: British Airways

The publication weighed 307 grams. Now, with 331 seats on one of the airline’s swish new Airbus A350s, that equates to around 100 kilograms. However, if an aircraft was operated twice a day for 365 days that, would equate to a saving of around 72,500kg across a year.

Of course, if you really will miss the High Life magazine, a handful of printed copies will still be available in the British Airways lounge.

Will you miss High Life? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!

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