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Airline catalog SkyMall files for bankruptcy

SkyMall, the in-flight shopping catalog that's long been a staple of airline travel, appears to have become a victim of changing times.
The company that produces SkyMall filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Thursday and is seeking a court-supervised sale of its assets, The Wall Street Journal reports.

SkyMall's catalog, found in the seatback pockets on many airline flights, once enjoyed a captive audience among air travelers. But that advantage has diminished for SkyMall as fliers increasingly turn to electronic devices for reading distractions.

And then there was the move by regulators in late 2013 to let passengers keep their electronic devices switched on, even during taxi, takeoff and landing. Airlines embraced the move, rushing to change their rules to allow their customers to keep their eyes buried in the devices.

That change was among the items singled out in the bankruptcy filing by SkyMall and parent company Xhibit Corp.

"With the increased use of electronic devices on planes, fewer people browsed the SkyMall in-flight catalog," acting SkyMall CEO Scott Wiley said in court papers, according to the Journal.

In the filing, the Journal quoted Wiley as saying SkyMill filed for bankruptcy "to achieve a sale of their assets and complete an orderly wind-down of their affairs." Wiley added SkyMall hopes to "sustain their scaled-down business operations as a going concern" as it tries to locate a potential buyer during the bankruptcy process, according to the Journal.

SkyMall listed Delta Air Lines , American Airlines and US Airways as its largest unsecured creditors, according to the bankruptcy filing.

The future of SkyMall had become a topic of speculation during the past year.

It was just this past April, for example, that the Los Angeles Times took an in-depth look at SkyMall, writing: "Analysts warn that SkyMall must modernize or join the Montgomery Ward and Sears catalogs on the scrap heap of retail history."

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