Monday, January 26, 2015

memories in the air

Change is in the air.  I've heard that before.  I might have even repeated it myself.  Change is always around the corner but most of the time we don't notice it much because it often amounts to pocket change (that's another phrase that will become obsolete in our future of smartphone cashless transactions).

inflight wi-fi killed it

Last week the news of SkyMall's bankruptcy spread through the news media more than most bankruptcies.  It reminded me of the extensive coverage when the Hostess Twinkies company was crashing (2012).

The SkyMall catalog was known to most travelers crisscrossing the US.  I got to know it well from my career at Airfone.  I would describe SkyMall's offerings as strange non-essential overpriced items.

Had Airfone back in 2006 been able to pull off our plans to fly the internet, we would have been the ones to hasten SkyMall's demise.  The Airfone internet project is related directly to the origin of this blog.  If interested please read the "short background" page.

When I read (Chicago Tribune) Mary Schmich's column on SkyMall Sunday, I had to post something about it on FB for my fellow ex-Airfone co-workers.  I confirmed that Airfone and SkyMall did have a business arrangement.  Calling SkyMall from our in-the-seatback phone was offered free.  I thought that was true but wanted to check with others since I was not directly involved in that setup.

When I flew I used a company maintenance card and typically annoyed family and my siblings with calls from the air which were free for me.  (see this post about that)  

typical looking Airfone equipment

The Wired site ran a great personal story on SkyMall.  In it the author, Emily Dreyfuss wrote:
"...I just remember the elation of picking up the phone in the back of the headrest on the Delta plane and calling a human being from the air. The line cracked, but from down deep below the thin air, a woman’s voice said, “Hi, thanks for calling SkyMall.” Outside the window, smog and clouds skidded past and I was talking on the telephone to a human being who was going to send us presents!
The possibilities in life were limitless."
I also found this video clip about SkyMall at the Washington Post web site. It's entertaining and informative.

Do you have any SkyMall memories?

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