High Life hits 500

British Airways in-flight magazine High Life, one of the UK’s longest running customer magazines, celebrates its 500th edition next month.

Since its launch in 1973 the travel magazine has been read by millions of customers who have flown with British Airways over the past 42 years.

There are copies of the monthly magazine on every British Airways flight, as well as appearing in the airline’s worldwide network of lounges.

To mark the milestone, the cover of the special 500th issue has been designed to showcase the best reader travel photographs shared with British Airways on Instagram in 2015.

Abi Comber, British Airways’ head of customer, said: “In each of those 500 issues since its launch, we’ve worked with Cedar to ensure that High Life includes the best in travel and discovery for our readers. As the UK’s longest running brand magazine, the quality of content and reader response just gets better and we’re excited to see where it takes us next.”

The special 500th edition looks back with a roll call of the top journalists, photographers and celebrities who have featured in High Life, including Jon Snow, Vivienne Westwood, David Bailey, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tracey Emin and John Simpson.

Looking back to the first edition in 1973, also shows what a difference 42 years makes. Articles included ‘A Thinking Man’s Guide to Paris, by Frank Muir’, travelling tips for businessmen taking their wife with them, how to mix ‘happy hour’ drinks, what made celebrities, such as Morecambe and Wise and Jilly Cooper, smile in Spring, and the cheeky perils of travelling alone as a female traveller, in Istanbul.

And while current editions feature adverts from luxury brands and high-end resorts, High Life in 1973 revealed a fascinating look at what was acceptable in 1970s advertising. Most notable are those for big cigarette brands (which have been banned in print since 2003), with six alone in the launch edition, along with adverts for then fashionable menswear from C&A and hotels run by Trust Houses Forte.

Over 40 years later, High Life is still one of the top magazines in the air with a readership of 3.3 million customers a month. British Airways has also worked with publishers and content marketing agency Cedar, to produce dedicated Chinese-language and South African editions, as well as making its content available online through and on social media.

Kerry Smith, High Life editor, said: “For over four decades we’ve worked closely with British Airways on establishing High Life as the iconic British travel title. This 500th issue is testament to the legacy of British Airways and High Life in helping people explore the world.”