SkyMall: A Trip Down Memory Lane

It’s unclear if today’s bankruptcy filing by omnipresent airplane seatback catalog SkyMall is the end for the venerable marketplace-in-the sky, but that seems to be a distinct possibility. As the Wall Street Journal says, SkyMall’s CEO will try to sell the business as a going concern but has no buyers lined up.

SkyMall’s Problem: Electronics

What killed the catalog or at least badly wounded it? Apparently, progress – especially all the iPads, phones and other electronic gadgets that many airlines now allow us to use from take-off to landing. Who needs to thumb through an old-style magazine catalog filled with odd (but useful) items when you can catch a favorite movie?

Down Memory Lane with SkyMall

Today, the very idea of a catalog carries a heavy whiff of yesteryear, but something will be lost without SkyMall. Maybe a kind of innocence or sense of wonder upon discovering an endearingly weird item like the Tortilla Baby Blanket (“for swaddling your baby to look like a delicious burrito”). Certainly, SkyMall’s long been the go-to place as the strangest assortment of odd and often practical items ever gathered in one place. It would be missed, by folks like FareCompare CEO Rick Seaney who used the catalog as fodder for his annual ABC News column on outlandishly-unusual holiday gifts. “Now the only thing in the seatback pocket will be the reusable barf bag,” Seaney noted sadly.

Some of the more bizarre and outrageous SkyMall gifts – with catalog descriptions – that attracted Seaney’s attention over the years.

Pierogi Tree Ornaments: Shaped like the dough dumplings your Polish Grandma used to make. “Sure to become a family heirloom.”

SkyMall Pierogi Ornament

Somawave Helmet: “Like having thousands of tiny fingers stimulate your scalp!”

SkyMall Somawave Helmet

Men’s Padded Butt Enhancer Briefs: Is there really a need for description or picture? Fine, see them here.

Bed Bug Thwarting Sleeping Cocoon: “Impervious to bed bugs’ teeth.”

SkyMall Bedbug Cocoon

Doggie DNA Kits: How many breeds does your mutt contain? [Editor: Ours turned out to be Beagle-Chow-Weimaraner-Norwegian-Elkhound]

SkyMall Doggy DNA

Skyrest Pillow: “For some primo shut-eye on the plane.”

SkyMall Skyrest Pillow

Last but Not Least, the Garden Yeti

For sheer delightful lunacy – our opinion only – the Garden Yeti stands alone. This fearsome looking creature is described by the catalog as an “elusive, mythical legend, captured in quality designer resin and hand-painted for startling realism. Will have guests doing a double-take” [as your editor did when she saw one in front of a home in Cincinnati last fall].

SkyMall's Garden Yeti

The Garden Yeti is priced from $99.95 to $2,250.00 (depending on size!). If this has been on your wish-list, you might want to get it sooner rather than later.

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Published: January 23, 2015