Here's a suggestion that might fly this year with holiday shoppers: Gift cards for airline travel.

Many airlines offer gift certificates, but American Airlines and Southwest Airlines have become the first to land in the booming gift-card market. Delta Air Lines says it will offer gift cards next year.

"Travel is a unique gift to give and it's something that people are excited to receive, so we thought we would not only help our customers out but also take advantage of the boom in gift cards," said Ryan Green, manager of business development at Southwest Airlines (LUV), in Dallas.

Consumers like gift cards. Shoppers said gift cards of all sorts would be their top purchase this year, with 67% planning to buy an average of 4.9 cards, up from 64% who planned to purchase 4.7 cards last year, according to Deloitte's annual holiday intentions survey of 17,440 consumers.

But some are skeptical airline gift cards will be all that popular. "I would be surprised if these things were very successful," says Christopher Elliott, ombudsman with National Geographic Traveler.

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