Book Review: Airport

In one of the boring lab sessions during my graduation, my friend Jayanth told me about Aurthur Hailey. He introduced me to Aurthur Hailey’s Detective. After reading the book, I found Aurthur Hailey’s style very interesting. I wanted to read his other works. Recently, when I was surfing through the books in Best Sellers at IPTL, I found Aurthur Hailey’s Airport. As always I bought a non-fiction “My Country, My Life” and along with it a fiction Aurthur Hailey’s “Airport”. I was excited.

I started the book as a buffer before I start My Country My Life, which will take a long time for me to complete. I started reading the book a week ago. I finished it yesterday. And now I am looking forward for my next buy time. The reason being the simply superb style of Aurthur Hailey.

Aurthur Hailey digs into the minutest detail of a given concept before writing about it. The book describes the Chicago Lincoln International Airport of the 70’s. Aurthur Hailey goes into so much detail that he even describes how the baggage used to be handled and how it used to be distributed in the aeroplane, for proper weight balance. He packs the book with many things – a man who is thinking about suicide, an aerial stow-away, a blocked runway, a pregnant stewardess bearing a pilot’s child, a mass demonstration against the Airport and a psychotic with a home-made bomb on a flight to Rome. All these problems add to personal problems faced by the characters in the book.

The Airport manager Mel Bakersfeld has got to manage all the issues with the Airport on a January evening with a storm that has been troubling the operations of the airport since three days. The book culminates into a nail biting finish with Flight to Rome returning to Lincoln International taking a U-turn halfway through its journey to Rome. I would not like to reveal too much to let you enjoy the thrills but then also look out for the signature style of the author. He pointed out at so many issues in the book. All of them are related to the Airports.

I think what Aurthur Hailey reflects in the book like the lay-over periods of a flight crew of the stewardesses when the stewardesses get laid by the pilots, the abortions there after, the management of airport as if it were a Railway Station where people move to board the flights instead of the vehicle moving to the people, the reasons for the style statement at least in terms of the food served on the flights, which could be a bit more reasonably low in cost, etc., are relevant even today.

Just one thing in this book, I think, left me a bit disappointed. There should have been an epilogue describing what happened to different characters after the dreadful night comes to an end. Stewardess Gwen Meighan survived or not? Did Sarah Demerest find out about the relation ship between Gwen and Vernon Demerest? If so, what happened then? Did Mel Bakersfeld get divorced with Cindy Bakersfeld? If so, did he propose to Tanya Livingston? You are left with a whole lot of questions including these when you are done with the book. Heres where I think an epilogue would have been good. The book simply ends with Keith Bakersfeld realizing his mistake and going home after dropping off his sleeping pills into the snow at the parking lot, Vernon Demerest deciding to tell Sarah about his relationship with Gwen Meighan and Mel Bakersfeld deciding to move into a hotel before he can find some other place. Mel also decides at the end to fight harder for better airport infrastructure. But the questions still remain, did all these things happen? That leaves you with a feeling that you had a traditional andhra meal but you didnt get to eat the curd, which defines the end of the meal!!!

I recommend this book to every one who likes to read a fictitious tale talking of issues with airports. I think the people who enjoy getting into the very finest details of the concept. Happy reading!!


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