I was really glad that I'd stocked up on magazines before boarding a flight on Spirit Airlines back in August. Sadly, their inflight magazine has gone the way of complimentary beverages and free luggage checking. Not so for Delta's Sky. On the contrary, the monthly magazine is bigger than ever and is even available on major newsstands for those not boarding an airplane.

The slick 160-page October issue would rival any general interest publication out there. The magazine contradicts current niche publishing trends. Think about it, it's potentially in the hands of 5.2 million people each month during Delta flights. While it's impossible to be all things to all people, Sky takes a pretty good stab at it.

It's a good assumption that many onboard an airplane probably are interested in traveling. There's a good amount of travel-related copy, including Andrew Zimmern's assessment of the country's top pizza joint (outside of New York, of course) and a useful feature on Athens, Greece that is more of a chart than a story, showing how to enjoy the city five different ways.

Also worth ripping and saving is a package of articles about different wine regions in the world. Short pieces highlight Napa Valley, Calif.; Mendoza, Argentina and Bordeaux, France while a two-page piece offers quick squibs on seven additional regions, including quick picks for the wine that's both tasty and reasonably priced. The last piece is written by master sommelier Andrea (Immer) Robinson, who has had wine shows on Fine Living and Food Network. Delta couldn't have picked a better sommelier, as her take on wine is both approachable and witty.

The cover story on Melissa Etheridge and her struggle with breast cancer dovetails nicely into a story about "pink" marketing -- cause marketing for breast cancer -- and includes study info about how consumers respond to merchandise that supports breast cancer-related causes. Sidebars on actress/model Elizabeth Hurley, Deanna Favre, wife of quarterback Brett Favre, and actress Christina Applegate detail their involvement with the cause. A timeline shows how the disease moved from "hush-hush to ka-ching" over the course of 35 years.

Standing sections in the magazine include business, lifestyle and dining.  "Citylicious" is a two-page spread that you have to turn the magazine sideways to read. The majority of the pages are filled with a large-type list of cities, with short squibs on the margins detailing activities for each.  I would have preferred a little more info on events and less of the pages filled with just the city names. Sure, it's "edgy" to make readers turn the magazine sideways, but I'm not a big fan of edgy for edgy's sake. There doesn't seem to be a lot of value in this layout.

I often find myself flipping to the last page in magazines before I've read the rest of the articles, and Sky's take on the space does not disappoint. The header reads "Last Laugh," and this month's version includes a first-person piece by actor/comedian/author Richard Belzer, best known for his role as Det. Sgt. John Munch on "Law and Order SVU."

The magazine also includes the standard airline magazine features -- maps of different airport terminals, in-flight information,  route maps, etc. But until you get to that point in the back of the book, you feel like you are reading a "real" magazine, one that you might have picked up at the newsstand before boarding. I don't think an airline magazine can attain much more than that.


Published by: MSP Communications and Delta Air Lines

Frequency: Monthly


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