SkyMall is a specialty publishing firm headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona. SkyMall produces a quarterly 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 catalog and web site, 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 2012, SkyMall was purchased by Najafi Companies, the largest private equity firm in Arizona.
SkyMall, Inc. was founded in 1990 by Bob Worsley, Alan Lobock, Matthew Del Bianco, and Graham Alcock. It originally offered goods from other companies' catalogs for same-day delivery to customers arriving at select U.S. airports or, if the customer preferred, to their home or office via express shipment. To accomplish the same-day delivery promise, SkyMall operated its own warehouses located near the selected airports.
Shortly after launching, the company purchased contracts from another company that allowed it to offer catalog merchandise to travelers flying many of the nation'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 its same-day delivery service and nearly bankrupting the company. The company now offers goods from other companies' catalogs for drop-ship to the customer via third-party transport firms.
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 Sky Mall 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 the third Blue Collar Comedy Tour film, One for the Road, Bill Engvall jokes about the addictive nature the magazine has on him, calling the magazine, "my crack".
SkyMall was referenced on Weeds (Season 6); however, the episodes cast the company in a negative light.
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!"
Agent 99 (Anne Hathaway) was seen reading a SkyMall catalog on the plane in the movie "Get Smart."
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.
Mitzi from Shin Chan has also referenced SkyMall in the show several times, (claiming she's read and owns every SkyMall magazine from 1987 and onward), in the episodes, "Hima Nohara in "The Creeping Terror" and in the episode, "The Girls of 34C".
In the television show How I Met Your Mother, Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris' character) claims that everything he owns in his office and apartment comes from SkyMall's catalogue.
In a Hanest-shirt commercial touting the softness of their shirts, the one man not wearing a Hanes shirt is wearing a shirt made of live kittens. After being derided by the others, he says "But I got it off SkyMall!"
In the Metalocalypse season 4 episode "Bookklok", Nathan Explosion shows his bandmates a defibrillator he has purchased from SkyMall, "to shock people... if they have a thing, like a heart attack, or if they're sleeping."
In the American sitcom Victorious, Cat Valentine becomes addicted to buying items from the "Sky Store" airline catalog magazine, a parody of SkyMall. Among its other offerings, Sky Store offered: the world's thinnest tennis racket, the world's brightest key chain, a ball freshener, a tree/bush Face, floating underwear, the world's best alarm necklace, a classical music-playing litterbox, a neck-massaging plush lobster, and a portable juicer.