Published on January 23rd, 2015 | by Daniel Nikulin1
R.I.P. Sky Mall
Chances are that at some point in your flying life, you hurriedly took your economy class seat, realizing only then that you forgot your reading material. Probably before the dawn of the laptop and the many other electronic reading devices that now have a dedicated pocket in one’s carry-on and definitely before the seat-back, on-demand, in-flight entertainment systems most aircraft are now routinely equipped with, you were left with few options.
Chances also are, that you then fumbled through the seat-back pocket in front of you, searching for something, anything to keep you occupied while you waited for the remaining passengers to board, be seated and get ready for take-off. And there it was, sitting perfectly between the airline’s own, less desirable in-flight magazine and the barf bag, the thickest offering in the fold and unfortunately, the now soon to be defunct, Sky Mall catalogue.
For more than thirty years, Sky Mall has kept in-flight boredom at bay and the silliness sky-high, keeping passengers grinning in amazement that anyone was making, let alone buying the items they were reading about. Really? A poncho AND a pillow? In one? Of course, A Ponchillow!
Sky Mall has filed for bankruptcy protection, for mainly the reasons outlined above and its biggest creditors are the very airlines who stock it. Over the years, the catalogue has lost their captive audience to new laws that now allow the use of electronics on-board and Wi-Fi capabilities the airlines will soon roll out on their planes en masse. If passengers suddenly feel the need to shop at 35,000 feet, they can do it online and will be happy to do so.
It’s the end of an era, and I, for one, will miss the comforting quirk of the in-flight rag. I don’t travel with a computer. I don’t have a Kindle or an iPad. If I’ve forgotten my book, I’m relegated to (and lucky if I get) one of the dozen newspapers (sometimes in a language I can’t even read) stocked for the 200 person flight. If the seat in front of me doesn’t have a screen, I’m forcing myself asleep or reaching for Sky Mall for an escape.
Maybe it’s a wake-up call for me and others like me (are there even any?) to get in the game, to get with the times or to at least do a better job of remembering to bring my reading material. Probably though, it’s just a sign of the times.
Thanks for the giggles and the company, Sky Mall, you will be missed.
May you rest in peace.