Between my business travel and using the miles I earn from that travel to visit friends who live in warmer climates than I do, I spend more time than the average person on airplanes. While airline travel can be rough, there are some perks. The occasional attractive seatmate, the random bump up to first class, a generous flight attendant who slips you an extra packet of those amazing cookies they only have on Delta. But anyone who travels frequently knows that the real best part of flying can be found in your seatback pocket – the Skymall catalog. And now, sadly, that little booklet of joy is being taken away from us.
Xhibit Corp, Skymall’s parent company, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Thursday, claiming that a “crowded, rapidly evolving and intensely competitive” retail environment has resulted in the catalog’s demise. Xhibit’s acting CEO, Scott Wiley, blamed technology for the decrease in sales, stating that “With the increased use of electronic devices on planes, fewer people browsed the SkyMall in-flight catalog.” He went on to state that the increase in flights that have internet access “resulted in additional competition from e-commerce retailers and additional competition for the attention of passengers, all of which further negatively impacted SkyMall’s catalog sales.” The plan is that Skymall will wind down operations and be out of business by April.
Now, I don’t know what flights Mr. Wiley is on, but I don’t know anyone who gets on a plane and can resist flipping through the retail treasure trove that is Skymall. There is absolutely no website in the world that compares to the ingenious inventions in that magazine of innovation. I mean, where else can you buy an end table that doubles as a dog crate, a Siamese snuggie, or a paper towel holder that’s also a cell phone charger? How am I now going to those order special Christmas gifts, like the fake dog crap key hide for my uncle who always loses his house key or the mini desk vacuum cleaner for my sloppy coworker Susan? I mean, if it’s good enough for Chrissy Teigen and John Legend, it’s good enough for my friends and family.
So let’s all take a moment to raise our wine sippy cup in tribute to our faithful travel companion, the Skymall catalog. Flying the friendly skies will be a little less entertaining without you, my friend..