Until recently, not going mad from boredom on a plane was difficult. Smoking had once been a popular choice. Then came large movie screens that only half the plane could see. These eventually morphed into individual screens on the back of headrests. But these still played old and tired movies that we had all seen multiple times. And who could forget the pneumatic headsets for listening to adult contemporary airline-based radio stations? The sound quality was poor, and the headsets weren’t even worth stealing because you couldn’t use them in a Walkman. Free booze on international flights (still available, and still effective) helped dull the tedium. Six dollar per minute phone calls also became an option, but we only made these ridiculously overpriced calls because of the free booze.
SkyMall to the Rescue
Another alternative to perpetual boredom became the SkyMall catalog. The ultimate epitome of decadence, SkyMall contained not a single item necessary to anyone for any practical purpose.
But somehow, SkyMall was able to capture the desires of its seat-belted, captive audience in a way that convinced them they couldn’t live without an Adult Jumping Ball or Roswell the Alien Butler.
This Bird Has Flown
Unfortunately for SkyMall, the Internet has made it much easier for us to find those one-of-a-kind useless items from the comfort of our own home. And recently, airlines have been starting to make it possible to use our cell phones during a flight (finally!). We are now liberated from dirty headphones and reruns of Rain Man on the back of a headrest. But our new found freedom of choice has also freed us from the need to read SkyMall, which has tremendously hurt its bottom line in the last few years.
These circumstances recently forced SkyMall to file for chapter 11 bankruptcy. The fate of this business is now in the hands of the bankruptcy court. Does this mean SkyMall will crash and burn, or will it just slide along its belly for an emergency landing; taking some damage but surviving? The hope for SkyMall is now solely in the grip of its pilot; the bankruptcy trustee. Let’s pray his skilled hands will glide this old bird down the runway unscathed.