"Sit back, relax, and enjoy the flight," our pilots still intone. But who are they kidding?
In Full Upright and Locked Position, former FAA chief counsel and senior aviation policy official Mark Gerchick unravels the unseen forces and little-known facts that have reshaped our air travel experience since September 11, 2001. With wry humor and unique insight, Gerchick takes us past the jargon, technicalities, and all-is-well platitudes to expose the new normal of air travel: from the packed planes and myriad hassles of everyday flying to the alchemy of air fares, the airlines' endless nickel-and-diming, and the elusive hope of escape from steerage. We find out what pilots do in the cockpit, what's really worth worrying about when it comes to airline safety, and why we get sick on planes. Meanwhile, Gerchick ponders the jarring disconnect between our quaint expectations of "service with a smile" and the grim reality of cramped seats, no-free-lunch, and "watch-yer-knees.
"With sympathy for both fliers and airlines, Gerchick shows how the new "business-all-business" airline industry has finally learned to make money, even in the face of crushing fuel costs, and get millions of travelers where they're going every day safely and quickly.
From his singular vantage point as former aviation regulator and policymaker, Gerchick gives us a straightforward insider's view of how hard it is for government to improve the traveler's lot by explaining the vagaries of consumer protection rules as well as the political realities and the economic forces at work. While Gerchick offers reasons to hope for a better future in air travel, he presents an unvarnished look at what we can expect - good and bad - when we take to the skies. Some of it will reassure you, some will make you cringe, but all will open your eyes to what it means to fly today.
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This presents a good amount of detail of how air travel got to where it is today and how air travel started, FINALLY, making a profit. Some facts the author has are incorrect and fail to the true air travel pro ears but it still gets an A grade in factual content. If you travel regularly, this is a must-read/listen. Never boring or short on information. Solid all around.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
What aspect of Michael Butler Murray’s performance would you have changed?
The book in my opinion is a downer. We all know air travel is stressful and can be difficult but it seemed to just stay in that realm the entire way through. Honestly it might be different if it was read from another narrator, I can't really say but from the beginning it's just a downer. There were some interesting things about pilots and aircraft procedures midway through the book but overall, it just wasn't for me.
You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?
Some interesting facts.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
I’m a nervous traveller, so it makes me wonder what kind of sick impulse propelled me to buy a book about the “Not-So-Comfortable Truths about Air Travel Today”!!
It was an OK book; he did a good job at convincing me that flying is safe – something I know intellectually, but it never hurts to be reminded with facts.
I liked the informative lesson in ‘fare buckets’ and understanding how people can pay such widely varying prices for tickets on the same flight, how often planes get thoroughly cleaned and other interesting miscellaneous factoids.
But over all the tone of the book felt ‘complainy’. I fly at least 6 times a year or more and perhaps I am extraordinarily lucky but I really don’t think it’s that bad! He made it out to be one of the most miserable experiences in life; I don’t buy it. To me, because of that, most of the book felt like a whiny rant.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful
If you like learning more about aviation and the reasons for how things work in air travel you will enjoy the book. The stories keep it interesting.