Cockpit Confidential- A Review
Who amongst us hasn’t looked at a jet aircraft at one time or another and been overcome with wonder? Who amongst us hasn’t been angry and upset while trying to fly on a jet aircraft from point A to point B?
Cockpit Confidential: Everything You Need to Know About Air Travel, by Patrick Smith, paperback, 304 pages, Sourcebooks, Inc., $14.99, was eminently readable from the first page. Much of the book is presented in a question and answer format. Almost any question you have ever had about any aspect of commercial flying is addressed. Smith is extraordinarily comprehensive and just as extraordinarily lucid in his explanations.
The many anecdotes give the book a very personal touch, too. Since Smith has been fascinated by aircraft since childhood, since he’s been an airline pilot since 1990, he certainly has the qualifications to write this book. Luckily for readers, he’s also a gifted writer, unafraid to tackle controversial subjects like airport security, flight delays, and airline customer service (or the lack thereof). He’s a talented researcher, giving a brief history of airline disasters. He discusses the people who fly the planes, who make up the crew, and how they are trained. The book is very thorough.
I didn’t know fully a third of the cost of a plane ticket is government taxes and fees. Is Uncle Sam trying to discourage us from flying? Airlines only make a few dollars profit per passenger on a cross-country flight.
I’m never crazy about getting in a big tube packed with strangers, operated by people I don’t and never will know. But flying is the cheapest, fastest, and safest way to travel long distances. After reading Cockpit Confidential I have much more appreciation for the people and companies that make my travel possible.
Whether you love or hate air travel Cockpit Confidential is an ideal book for anyone who flies, a handbook for airline travelers. I recommend it without reservation.
All content in this blog, including writing and photos, copyright John Kumiski 2013. All rights are reserved.