Cockpit Confidential by Patrick Smith
Best for: People who like trivia; nervous fliers.
In a nutshell: Pilot answers common questions and provides fun anecdotes about commercial air travel.
Line that sticks with me: “To a degree, each of these is open to interpretation, but there are four standard cabins: first class, business class, economy class, and Ryanair.”
Why I chose it: Airport purchase
Review: This was a mostly fun and interesting read. It starts strong, has some lags in the middle, has interesting bits 3/4 the way through, and ends one a bit of a meh. Mr. Smith covers so many topics, and I can’t think of any that he left out that I was wondering about. He talks about safety, about what’s happening at different points throughout the flights, and what we should really be fearing.
He doesn’t hide the fact that plane crashes happen, and he has a refreshing perspective of what September 11 did to the airline industry, especially where security is concerned. He also takes on some things I didn’t know I was interested in learning about, like his thoughts on airplane paint jobs (but they are kind of fun to read).
At 280 pages, this book might seem long, but it’s a fairly quick read. It’s three stars for me because it is well-written and interesting, but could use with some stronger editing.
(You can check out his website for updated information; he has already weighed in on the United passenger removal issue here: http://www.askthepilot.com/passenger-forcibly-removed/)