Thursday, December 19, 2019

Book Review: Airport, by Arthur Hailey

Airport, by Arthur Hailey book cover and review
I saw Airport as a Kindle Daily Deal for cheap. I had seen the movie years ago (it was a big hit), so I thought I'd give the book a go. It was worth the time.

You have to realize that Airport was first published in 1968, so things were a bit different at airports. As in -- absolutely no security. This isn't inaccurate -- truly, that's the way it was -- hard as that is to believe! My edition contained a forward by the author explaining this.

There is a huge snowstorm at the airport in Chicago (fictitiously named Lincoln International.) Flights are delayed and the biggest runway is blocked by a huge aircraft mired in the mud after having slid off the runway. We learn about the characters first. One main character is the manager of the airport. Also the eventual pilot of the fated flights. An old woman who is an expert at stowing away on airline flights (imagine that was also common!) The maintenance person trying to clear the runway and the eventual bomber. These are but a few of the vast cast of characters about whom we learn every little detail of their lives before anything happens!

If you read reviews of Airport, many don't finish or complain about the excessive details. I slogged through, although Hailey does write well, and I found it interesting enough. You do become a part of their lives! It isn't until about 50% that the bomber actually boards the airplane. And I found the last 25% to be thrilling. That is when I started picturing the movie after all these years. I could actually see George Kennedy as the maintenance guy, yelling, with a cigar hanging out of his mouth.

The movie also stars Burt Lancaster, Dean Martin, and Helen Hayes and is great. If you haven't seen it, I recommend it. I want to see it again now that I have read the book. There are a couple of sequels too, as I recall.

You learn a lot of the behind-the-scenes workings of an airport (at least how it was in the 60s), and I enjoyed that. And the lack of security, once again, will blow your mind. Given that the first half of Airport was pretty slogging, I still enjoyed it and found it a satisfying read.

So I'll let you decide....

Published by Doubleday, 1968 (my copy Open Road Media, 2014)
eBook Purchased
548 pages

Rating: 3.5/5

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1 comment:

  1. Imagine no security. Those were the days. As I read this post, my daughter is stuck on a plane in NY on the runway waiting to take off. So far, they are 2 hours late. Ugh.


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