Friday, October 10, 2008

The Odd World of SkyMall

From the airport security lines to the lack of amenities to the crowded cabins, flying is usually a far from pleasant experience. However, one of the great things about flying is the always amusing and usually absurd items found in the SkyMall catalogs thoughtfully provided in the pockets of airline seats. From the semi-practical (a travel medicine case) to the odd but compelling (an antique popcorn maker/cart) to the completely frivolous (the Spa-N-a-Box Portable Spa), you can find almost anything and everything within the catalog's slick pages.

Although a SkyMall catalog probably isn't enough to keep you occupied while on a trans-Atlantic flight, it does offer some great diversions on shorter trips. Now that they have done away with in-flight movies, here are some of the odder games my siblings and I sometimes indulge in when there isn't anything else to do on the plane:
  • Find the most useless item possible in the catalog (this can take some time) and try to one-up each other in terms of uselessness and cost. The last time my sister and I did this, we went head-to-head with the expensive inflatable, portable hot tub and the ultimate pogo stick extreme.
  • For some reason, there are an unusual number of pet-related items featured in SkyMall. Everything from personal drinking fountains to memorial plaques are available. Find the stupidest pet items (you will have a lot to pick from) and try to decide which of your friends might actually buy them for their beloved pets. An even more fun variation is taking the catalog with you to your pet-fanatic friend and showing him all of the wonderful things that he can buy for Fido or Fluffy.
  • If all else fails, use the catalog like an adult version of the Sears Wish Book and find all of the things that you would buy if you had an unlimited amount of money and space. While you may never have room for that genuine reproduction of a 1920s helicopter propeller in your living room, you can always dream...
Finally, if you are away from an airplane, take this great quiz from Mental Floss: Actual SkyMall Product or Rejected Invention Patent?