Full Upright and Locked Position: Uncomfortable Truths about Air Travel Today

Mark Gerchick, Author
Mark Gerchick. Norton, $24.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-3930-8110-7
Reviewed on: 04/15/2013
Release date: 06/01/2013
Paperback - 344 pages - 978-0-393-34939-9
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-0-393-08959-2
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Former FAA counsel Gerchick’s lucid and horrifying overview of air travel in America does its job too well: after reading this book, you’ll never want to set foot on a commercial flight again. After an overview of the current state of flying and its discontents, Gerchick conducts a point-by-point dismemberment of the business—the hidden charges, the pinching seats, the bacteria, and delays. Important episodes in his history include the rise of the low-cost airline in the ’80s, the tragedy of 9/11, and the explosion of jet-fuel costs that followed. It is a grim but illuminating tale. What saves the book from being an unmitigated downer is Gerchick’s bemused, avuncular tone. He’s the guy in the coach seat next to yours (on the aisle, of course) who’s seen it all before. While the economy flyer may shudder to learn that the flight crew refers to him as “self-loading freight,” Gerchick cushions the blow with jokes, asides, and fascinating data. Despite his impressive range of knowledge, Gerchick never bores the reader with mere pedantry. While his book can’t save readers from airport purgatory, the insights provided will make the turbulence a little easier to bear. Agent: Rafe Sagalyn, Sagalyn Literary Agency. (June)
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