This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

United’s first-class magazine, Rhapsody, will be discontinued on board in the near future. Now, first-class passengers will only have one choice in reading material provided by the plane, Hemispheres, United’s other in-flight magazine.

Rhapsody proclaims itself to cover “news and current events, business, travel, arts and entertainment, fashion and high-end consumables, from cars to Cartier watches” for “road-warrior businesspeople to card-carrying members of the global elite.” There are 56 issues published online with celebrity covers from the likes of Robert De Niro to Lupita Nyong’o.

With fuel costs on the rise, maybe United is trying to lighten its cargo load by ditching the magazine — like it did when it saved 170,000 gallons of fuel by switching to a lighter paper for the in-flight magazine. But the airline says its all about consolidation.

“In talking with our publisher, we felt it made more sense to offer one magazine to all customers, regardless of cabin, that provides the same content that our customers love,” a United spokesperson told TPG. “We are taking the most popular elements of Rhapsody, which was previously only available in first and business class, and adding it to Hemispheres, our inflight magazine available at every seat onboard.”

We were curious about how many people actually read in-flight magazines, so we asked our readers in the TPG Lounge under what circumstances they pick it up.

Avid Readers

These flyers enjoy picking up in-flight magazines to pass time on a flight.

I check the shipping section for new travel gadgets” – Mahmoud F.

I generally read them cover to cover to pass the time. Then I do the sudokus and crossword puzzles if I have time.” – Michael N.

I usually pick them up to look at airport maps and then glance at the other stuff. I tend to read the magazine from back to front since I start with the maps. 🙂” – Michael C.

I usually browse them for ideas on things to do at some destinations” – Kendall L.

I usually just read the last few pages about the airline, their planes, route network and look at airport maps.” Richard B.

I love getting on the plane and seeing what the new “Three Days In” feature is in Hemispheres (UA Economy). I’ll read it if it’s a city I’ve been to to compare my experience. I rarely read Rhapsody, the First Class magazine.” – Adrienne A.

I read one today. Like the “people” oriented stories.” – Steve S.

Always! As an Explorer Card member I have priority boarding on United so I usually finish reading Hemispheres before the doors even close, lol” – Eric R.

Success Stories

Some readers have stumbled upon interesting ways to take advantage of the content of the in-flight magazines, whether they were able to build upon a secondary language or find a good deal.

It often gives good ideas for vacations… I recently read last month about the old Pablo Escobar mansion in Tulum that has recently been converted into a high end boutique hotel. That’s definitely on the must-do list!” – Ted D.

I like to thumb through AA’s Nexos magazine since I’m learning Spanish and it’s a nice, relevant opportunity to make myself read in another language.” – Keith W.

Last time I read one in Delta there was a coupon for The Parking Spot so I took the coupon and when we returned to LGA saved 10% off our parking for the week.” Kimberly R.

I actually got the best recipe for charred onion dip out of a Southwest magazine years ago. Also, I love route maps.” – Dianne J.

When I fly on international airlines, I love picking up their inflight magazines because they tend to be bilingual and I like to learn to expand my multilingual capabilities.” – Colin C.

Not So Into It

Not everyone is that interested in picking up the magazine for some reason or another – but lots of people aren’t into the germs lurking in the seat pockets.

I probably last read an in-flight magazine in the 1990s.” – Ross B.

I’m not touching anything in the seat pocket!! Ewwww…. 😜” – Kathy P.

I immediately relocate them to the overhead bin and reclaim an extra 1/2″ of space for my knees.” – Chris R.

I would, and did, but there have been studies to show they are the most germ laden things on the plane, so now I don’t touch them.” – Robby W.

It used to be the first thing I did as soon as I sat down. But only to go straight to the back to see what movies would be playing during that specific flight. Now that most flights give you the freedom to choose your entertainment, there’s no need for the magazine anymore.” – Luije P.

It Just Depends

The following TPG Lounge members only pick up an in-flight magazine on a circumstantial basis.

I love in flight magazines! American is probably my favorite. Of course I ONLY pick it up to read when the WIFI goes out.” – Evelyn E.

Only at the beginning of the month. Otherwise, I’m grossed out.” – Ann S.

Only when I forget my headset” – Dan P.

I usually flip through them after boarding before take-off, since the frequent announcements and checks make it difficult to get into a novel or start a movie.” – Brittani S.

If I run out of things to do, then yes.” – Joey P.

Either I’m bored, want to see what my bar options are, or there is an article about a city that I’m interested in….” – Lisa E.

“I usually read the at the 9th hour of a 15th hour looooog flight I am usually bored, and nothing gives.” – Andrea B.

Reminiscent Flyers

Some commenters were mostly focused on a retired in-flight magazine that deserves an honorable mention: SkyMall.

Back in the days of SkyMall I did… I loved looking at those ridiculously expensive and impractical items that, if I was rich, I most definitely would have bought 😀” – Patrick R.

Skymall was the best!” – Holly O.

Featured image by Natalia Moroz/Getty Images.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The American Express Platinum card has some of the best perks out there: cardholders enjoy the best domestic lounge access (Delta SkyClubs, Centurion Lounges, and Priority Pass), a $200 annual airline fee credit as well as up to $200 in Uber credits, and mid-tier elite status at SPG, Marriott, and Hilton. Combined with the 60,000 point welcome offer -- worth $1,140 based on TPG's valuations -- this card is a no-brainer for frequent travelers. Here are 5 reasons you should consider this card, as well as how you can figure out if the $550 annual fee makes sense for you.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
N/A
Annual Fee
$550
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.