BORN: Winter 1966/1967: Debuting as The American Way, the first issue was 20 pages (not counting covers) and had eight articles, three of which were travel-related (New York, Phoenix, and California). The other stories were mostly about aviation and flight service. Basically, it was a brochure made to look like a magazine.
The earliest issues of American Way claim that the magazine was "The American Airlines In-Flight Magazine for America's Most Important Air Travellers." Though it doesn't say that on the magazine now, it still holds true today - except, of course, now we're the magazine for the world's most important air travelers.
Prompted by a letter from a reader, in May/June 1969, the magazine gets a table of contents and page numbers - as well as a Letters to the Editor page.
When it was first published, The American Way was designed with a wrap cover. This practice was abandoned in 1970.
In May 1975, The was dropped from the magazine's title.American Way's first CEO note ran on March 1, 1991. Called Vantage Point, it was written by Robert L. Crandall.
The three largest issues of American Way (thus far) ran 210 pages each, and they were the November 1, 1999; November 15, 1999; and November 1, 2000, issues.
Figures That Matter
In 1967, the quarterly circulation of American Way was 600,000 (200,000 per month), with four million readers (1.3 million per month). Today, we're distributed twice a month, and the circulation is nearly four times that at 350,900 (701,800 per month), with three times the number of readers - 1,627,000 (3,254,000 per month).
Although it started out as a quarterly publication, The American Way went bimonthly in 1968, and then monthly in September 1969.
The median household income of the American Way reader was $31,400 in fall 1979. Today, it's $100,026.
In 1969, a subscription for the quarterly The American Way was $3 per year, and a single issue cost a mere 50 cents. By 1976, as a monthly publication, it cost $10 yearly or $1 by the issue. Today, for 24 issues a year, it costs $72, and a single copy is $5.
By 1975, the readership of the magazine had reached 2.7 million each month. However, American Way had yet to be profitable.
During the late '70s, advertisers began to take notice of the airline magazine industry as a whole, and ad revenue for American Way began exceeding its expenses - we were finally turning a profit. AW continues to bring in the green (and operate in the black) to this day.
By the mid-1980s, AW's large (and heavy) issues made the cost of fuel burn extremely expensive, thus it was decided in January 1985 for American Way to go from a monthly publication schedule to fortnightly (every two weeks) - translating to smaller, lighter issues every other Tuesday, or 26 times a year.
On October 1, 1986, American Way's publication schedule changed to twice a month (on the first and the 15th), or 24 times a year. We currently remain the only airline magazine to be published this often.