Behind the mask and behind the scenes of Ink travel media
 

Is the Arctic Swedish village of Korpilombolo really cursed by voodoo? And was its most famous band – a masked, psychedelic-pagan-funk collective called Goat – really formed in 1898, passing its music down through the generations?

These were the questions posed by the cover story of the latest issue of n by Norwegian for Norwegian, whose cover featured a goat in a mask, naturally. Music writer Mark Beaumont didn’t find all the answers in Korpilombolo, but he did find a bingo night – and he did write a funny, madcap story illustrated by creative visuals that mixed Tim White’s moody black and white photography with spooky voodoo visuals from the band. 

 

That October issue, incidentally, also features stories on Venice’s Jewish Ghetto (500 years old this year), the New York chefs cooking with food waste and the rise of dirt-bike racing across Europe.
All these stories do what good magazine features should do: intrigue, inspire and surprise. And they sum up the quality of ideas and execution across all our Ink titles, whether that means a gorgeous motel shoot with Bryan Cranston in Rhapsody (for United Airlines), Bangkok’s rockabilly hipsters in Scoot or the dandy sapeurs of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in b inspired (for Brussels Airlines).
In the past, the reputation of inflight magazines was different. A lot had bland, generic travel content, simply pointing at new openings or cities from afar, with a lot of the journalism led by press releases and executed by journalists either sitting at desks or going on press trips.

Today, we’re doing things very differently. Every day, we’re sending journalists and photographers off to investigate everything from Cambodian brutalism to Budapest pinball wizards and Oregon fishermen-poets. We’re on the ground, with cameras, notepads –and increasingly video equipment – and we’re aiming to pique the interests of passengers, as well as inspire them to get on a plane and travel.
The result is that our magazines are getting widespread recognition. Last year, Ink magazines took home every big customer magazine award in the UK, including the PPA and BSME Awards, and our US titles won scores of national awards.

We’re also changing not just how inflight media is seen, but how customer content is seen. EasyJet Traveller isn’t just good in the field of customer content anymore; I’d argue that there isn’t a better general interest travel magazine in the UK right now.
The standard for us, in print and digital, is that we compete with the best, on a newsstand or not. And that’s a whole lot more exciting than rewriting press releases.

Toby Skinner
Creative director