I repeat, passengers are allowed to take home copies of inflight magazines usually found at the back-seat pockets on-board an aircraft. Flight attendants do routine checks on each seat before the next flight to replenish them. But please, keep those safety instruction cards where they are. You won’t have any use for them elsewhere, anyways.
I have amassed a collection of inflight magazines in a shelf at home, and whenever my friends would see or learn about them, they’d give me a presumptive stare (No, they were not stolen. Thank you!). I have asked my traveling friends several times to grab for me a copy of inflight magazines on their flights but, to this point, no one has ever handed me on their return. Some said they forgot it, others were upright honest to say they were afraid to get caught.
I would explain to them a thousand times that inflight magazines can be taken out of the planes but no one would take my word, so I went as far as emailing airlines about the issue to prove my point. Here are some of the replies.
Apologies for the late revert. I have confirmed that the Silverkris magazine on board can be taken home by the passengers.
Thank you for reaching out to Going Places.
Please feel free to bring home the Going Places Magazine if you are taking Malaysia Airlines next, it is allowed.
Regards.Wendy Tan (Senior Media Sales Manager | Spafax Networks Sdn. Bhd.)
I have yet to receive responses from other airlines, but there you have a few.
But why would you want to keep them?
If you’re taking flights, chances are you want to keep a token as a souvenir. And if you’re a voracious reader and a writer or photographer who may be looking for inspiration, what better thing to keep for a memento than a copy of an inflight magazine. They serve a lot of other purposes than what airlines intended them for, plus they are free.
Being focused on travel and destinations, inflight magazines are a treasure trove for inspiration to travel writers, food bloggers, or any other type of lifestyle writers. And having media-rich content, they’d trigger creative sparks among photo enthusiasts, hobbyist, and professional photographers. I initially kept inflight magazines for their high-quality photography, but later on found the copies so much useful source for inspiration when I decided to step up for travel writing.
I started keeping copies of inflight magazines in 2007. Unfortunately, I lost the ones from 2009 to earlier dates when I left to work in Saudi Arabia. Also, some of the copies I acquired during my tenure here in the desert have been missing. Maybe, I placed them somewhere and have since then forgotten or someone borrowed and never returned.
Moving forward, now that you know that you’re allowed to, please do not take a copy just because you can. Inflight magazines are supposed to be read (and be kept in your collections, should you decide to later on), but if you’ll just use them to wrap dried fish and other perishable goods, forget about it.
Also, only inflight magazines are allowed to be taken outside the planes. Safety instruction cards, blankets, pillows, utensils, and the likes are not to be taken home. The same with safety jackets, more importantly. Everything intended for safety is not to be taken home. They are for someone else’ safety, if not for yours.
Update: February 2, 2018
I recently took a Philippine Airlines flight from Tokyo Haneda to Manila and was able to take photos with the airline crew (see attached). I asked to take home a copy of their in-flight Magazine, “Mabuhay,” and they so gladly obliged. So let’s add that up to our list.
Also recently, I took Kuwait Airways flights between Jeddah and Manila but the cabin crew did not look so friendly so I never bothered to ask. Though I still took a copy of their in-flight magazine and flashed it to one of the cabin crew members (and a smile) but I wasn’t reprimanded or asked to return the magazine.
One key point to consider is that there are a lot of torn (not just worn out) copies of the magazine all over the plane as if Tazmanian Devil run through them. That could only mean those copies can be taken home, or at least how I interpret them.