SkyMall is a specialty publishing firm headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, best known for publishing a self-titled in-flight publication, SkyMall, with an annual circulation of approximately 20 million copies distributed in airplane seat pockets. SkyMall is a multi-channel, direct marketer offering products through direct marketers and manufacturers through its SkyMall catalogue and website, skymall.com.
The SkyMall catalog is seen by approximately 88% of all domestic air passengers in the United States, reaching more than 650 million air travelers annually. In January 2015 the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
SkyMall, Inc. was founded in 1990 by Bob Worsley, Alan Lobock, Matthew Del Bianco, and Graham Alcock. Originally, it intended to "get customers to order within 20 minutes of landing and have the goods waiting for them on arrival", before it switched to home delivery. Same-day delivery required SkyMall to operate its own warehouses near select airports.
Shortly after launching, the company purchased contracts from another company that allowed it to offer catalog merchandise to travelers flying U.S. air carriers. This move, which did not receive the support of all of the founders, required a significant shift in SkyMall's focus and operations, ultimately forcing the company to abandon same-day delivery and nearly bankrupting it. The company now offers goods from other companies' catalogs for drop-ship to the customer via third-party transport firms.
Since 1999, SkyMall ownership has "bounced around among several private-equity companies", including by Najafi Companies, the largest private equity firm in Arizona in 2012. In 2009 SkyMall's website "generated approximately $80.5 million in revenue", making it the 185th largest e-commerce website by revenue.
On May 17, 2013, SkyMall merged with Xhibit Corp, described as a new "marketing software and digital advertising company that trades on an 'over-the-counter' exchange where equity shares of small companies can be bought and sold".
On January 22, 2015, SkyMall, LLC and several affiliated companies, including its parent company Xhibit Corp., voluntarily filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Arizona. Skymall is requesting an auction in late March to begin the process of liquidating remaining merchandise.
- Apparel & Accessories
- Automotive & Hardware
- Health & Wellness
- Home Living
- Outdoor Living
- Sporting Goods
- Toys, Hobbies & Collectibles
In popular culture
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SkyMall is often parodied for selling sometimes unusual products. For instance, comedy troupe Kasper Hauser released the book "SkyMaul: Happy Crap You Can Buy from a Plane" as an unauthorized parody of the SkyMall catalogue. It features absurd products such as the Banana-ganizer, Self-Pepper Spray, Llamacycle, and Living-Room Beluga Aquarium.
References in music and TV include:
- In In the Futurama episode "A Farewell to Arms", Bender is seen reading a copy of SpaceMall, a parody of SkyMall, while on the Planet Express Ship.
- In the third Blue Collar Comedy Tour film, One for the Road, Bill Engvall jokes about the addictive nature of SkyMall, calling it "my crack".
- On the album Near Truths and Hotel Rooms, Todd Snider tells the story of how he came up with the lyrics to "Statistician's Blues" from an article in an airline magazine. In the story Snider claims, "Folk singers can't fool with no SkyMall!"
- SkyMall was referenced in the Breaking Bad episode "Negro y Azul", when a cartel member (Danny Trejo) is demanding a list of items from the magazine in turn for helping out the DEA, and in "Hermanos", when a DEA agent (Dean Norris) unveils a GPS tracking device purchased from SkyMall.
- In the 2008 film Get Smart, Agent 99 (Anne Hathaway) was seen reading a SkyMall catalog.
- An article on Cracked.com, written by an official columnist, lists "The 7 Most Useless Skymall Products", which lists 7 comically, seemingly pointless, products previously sold through SkyMall.
- In the North American version of the anime series Crayon Shin-chan, Mitzi references SkyMall in the episodes, "The Creeping Terror" and "The Girls of 34C".
- In the TV series Castle, Richard Castle is shown to be a subscriber to SkyMall in the Season 4 episode "Head Case".
- Standup comedian Jim Gaffigan makes reference to SkyMall in his album Beyond the Pale, saying that he buys all his groceries from SkyMall and The Sharper Image.
- In the Metalocalypse season 4 episode "Bookklok", Nathan Explosion shows his bandmates a defibrillator he purchased from SkyMall, "to shock people...if they have a thing, like a heart attack, or if they're sleeping".
Airlines with Skymall on flights
- American Airlines and American Eagle
- United Airlines
- Delta Airlines - ended November 2014
- Southwest Airlines - ending April 2015
- "Contact Us". SkyMall. Retrieved January 19, 2010.
- Kim Bhasin (January 23, 2015). "SkyMall Is Earthbound, but Its Legacy of Nutty Gifts Lives On". Bloomberg Businessweek.
- "About SkyMall". SkyMall.
- Dhar, Rohin (June 12, 2013). "SkyMall: The Strange Story of America's Most Delightfully Weird Catalogue". The Atlantic.
- "SkyMall Orders Up a Bankruptcy Filing". Commercial Bankruptcy Investor. Retrieved January 23, 2015.
- "Quirky SkyMall catalogue bankrupt, inflight appeal lost". Toronto Star. January 23, 2015. Retrieved January 24, 2014.
- Bowie, Soren (October 18, 2010). "The 7 Most Useless Skymall Products (Reviewed Accordingly)". Cracked.com.
- SkyMall website
- "'Where the Wings Have No Shame': What's SkyMall culture really about?", Slate.com, April 18, 2007
- "SkyMall and GuestLogix to develop onboard shopping service", DFNIonline, February 21, 2008
- "Coffee, Tea, Lawn Ghoul?" by Sarah Kershaw, April 29, 2009, New York Times