SkyMall Set to Re-Launch

Just when you thought it was safe to dig through the seatback pocket on that tedious plane trip, the once-ubiquitous SkyMall catalogs are poised for a return to airlines’ seatbacks.

Just when you thought it was safe to dig through the seatback pocket on that tedious plane trip, SkyMall, the purveyor of schlock to the bored and distracted and butt of innumerable garden-Yeti jokes, is apparently poised for a revival, possibly including a return of the once-ubiquitous catalogs to airlines’ seatbacks.

Since declaring bankruptcy in January, the company has lingered on with an online-only presence. But last week, SkyMall was purchased, for $1.9 million, by a New Jersey company with an eye on resurrecting the merchant’s fortunes.

According to coverage by the Arizona Republic, C&A Marketing plans to build on SkyMall’s considerable brand awareness, and “might bring back the SkyMall catalog in some form if it makes sense.”

Whether it makes sense of not will likely be determined by the airlines, based on financial considerations (flat fee to carry the catalogs, or a commission on sales, or …?) and customer interest.

Regarding the latter, it’s hard to believe that today’s airline passengers have any special interest in a traditional paper-format catalog. With the airlines’ robust inflight entertainment systems and flyers’ own electronic devices on tap for entertainment, including shopping, a SkyMall catalog would be relegated to the bottom of a long list of to-do options.

In any case, the SkyMall story is far from over. And there’s at least an outside chance that a future chapter will be titled “Up in the Air, Again.”

Reader Reality Check

Is there still a place for SkyMall catalogs in airline seatbacks?

This article originally appeared on

By Tim Winship

After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *