June 22, 2015 Last Updated 7:07 am

Hawaiian Airlines releases native digital edition for its inflight magazine Hano Hou!

Unlike most airlines that offer free access to their inflight magazines for marketing reasons, this app charges readers for single issues, as well as an annual subscription

Every once in a while I see something in a digital publication that confuses me. It can be a number of things, but I admit it doesn’t happen very often. I’ve looked at hundreds of digital editions since launching TNM in 2010, after all.

HanaHou-coverBut the new app for Hana Hou! did have some surprises. The new iPad-only Newsstand app is the digital edition for Hawaiian Airlines’ inflight magazine of the same name. Unlike every other inflight magazine that has launched a Newsstand app, this one is actually charging for the magazine: $3.99 for single issues or $19.99 for a subscription.

Usually an airline sees their inflight magazine as a marketing tool, not as a for-profit consumer magazine. So when opening this new app I noticed that there was a second, older issue inside they were giving away – that is the issue I opened. (Yes, I’m cheap, but who can afford to buy every digital magazine one encounters?)

As the screenshots for the app reveal, this digital edition is designed in landscape, and a sure sign that it will be a native digital magazine, not a replica edition.

Branded magazines seem to have the best shot at being native rather than digital. American Way, the inflight magazine for American Airlines, is a native digtial edition which uses the Mag+ digital publishing platform. Hemispheres, the inflight magazine for United Airlines is also built the same way (no surprise, it is from the same developer). But Cedar Communications Ltd goes replica edition for British Airways High Life, probably sign its time to find a new content marketing agency, one more comfortable with digital publishing.

HanHou-naviThe other thing that surprised me with Hano Hou! is the digital publishing platform. Maybe you can spot it, but I couldn’t, and there are no settings or privacy notices where this information is sometimes divulged. Maybe this is a newer version of Adobe DPS, as the bottom navigation bar looks similar. (But I don’t think it is as I had a very hard time getting the navigation bar to appear. You are supposed to tap the screen twice to make it pop up, but I often had to tap the screen many times to finally get the app to respond.)

But whatever platform was used, this is a nicely designed digital edition, with layouts that sometimes require scrolling and sometimes move like an eBook. But the photography here really pops, the art director takes advantage of this by making sure many of the photos go full screen.

I don’t know if the design was the responsibility of Pacific Travelogue Inc, the Honolulu marketing consultant under whose developer account this app appears, or the someone else as the issue I saw makes the all too common mistake of omitting a staff box.

Also, if I had any advice (other than adding a staff box), it would be to make sure some of the fonts don’t get too small. On a regular size iPad all looks great, but some of the fonts – just a few – got a little some on the iPad mini. (I now use my iPad mini for looking at most tablet magazines for just this reason.)

  • Wojtek Szywalski 3 years ago

    I am really impressed to see onboard digital magazine, that actually costs money. I’d really want o see figures they will achieve.