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Full Upright and Locked Position:…
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Full Upright and Locked Position: Not-So-Comfortable Truths about Air… (2013)

by Mark Gerchick

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If you're looking for answers regarding why flying has become such a miserable experience in the past decade -- from the cramped seats to the endless litany of fees, from more intrusive security screening to the utterly impossible to navigate pricing system -- then Mark Gerchick's book is a good place to start. He writes in a friendly, direct manner, without too much technical jargon, and presents the viewpoints of multiple parties: the airlines, the passengers, and the regulators. Those who like to read Patrick Smith's "Ask the Pilot" column in Slate might also be interested in this book. ( )
  rabbitprincess | Jul 5, 2015 |
As someone who, like so many people, is fed up with the realities of air travel these days, I was expecting, even hoping, that this book would be an angry exposé about the awfulness of the airline industry. But it's not, exactly. It's something quite a bit better: a thorough, calm, and informative work that explains and demystifies the good, the bad, and the ugly of US air travel, from how the airlines make their money to what the pilots actually do in the cockpit. I now feel like I actually understand why airlines have felt the need to adopt the current system, in which passengers are charged extra for everything from a checked bag to a meal to the privilege of skipping to the head of the line. (I still hate it. But I understand it better.) I have glimpsed the arcane secrets behind airline ticket pricing, including why it is that prices can easily go up on you if you spend an hour dithering about which flight to book. I have peeked into the inner sanctum of International First Class and developed whole new levels of resentment for the rich. And I have learned why it took a full decade just to enact a no-brainer rule about having to let passengers off the plane if they've been sitting for more than three hours on the tarmac. (Hint: it involves airlines being whiny crybabies about regulation.)

I've also learned that the best time to buy an airline ticket is on a Tuesday afternoon six weeks before your flight. If that advice is of any use to you, you're welcome. ( )
2 vote bragan | Jun 15, 2015 |
If you are a frequent flyer, you are well-acquainted with what an awful experience flying has become, that is if you're among the 99% of the masses who does not fly 1st class. I typically fly at least a couple of times of year so I'm familiar with the ridiculous security rituals, the cramped seats, the nickel and diming you have to endure with "ancillary fees," etc., but I still found plenty of what this industry insider has to say interesting and enlightening. About the only good news Gerchick has is that flying is more affordable for most people than it ever has been it will probably stay that way. The bad news is that all the other stuff that makes air travel miserable is not going away in the foreseeable future. ( )
  Sullywriter | May 22, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0393081109, Hardcover)

"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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:06 -0400)

"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"-Provided by publisher.… (more)

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