Full Upright and Locked Position

Full Upright and Locked Position

Not-so-comfortable Truths About Air Travel Today

Book - 2013
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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.

Publisher: New York :, W. W. Norton and Company,, [2013].
Copyright Date: ©2013
ISBN: 9780393081107
Characteristics: xiv, 331 pages ;,25 cm.


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Mar 27, 2018

Some of the information is redundant but what I found interesting was the information about the accommodations for travelers aboard a jet. From first class and luxury experiences to the risks you take if you drink the water, wash your hands or walk around a plane in your socks!

Jul 25, 2017

I found this book to have rather a petulant tone. A new Boeing 787 starting price is around 120 million US. Even a midsize regional jet starts at around 50 million. Considering the cost of the aircraft, the insurance, the maintenance, landing fees, fuel, and the number of bodies it takes to get it safely from point A to point B, it s a wonder anyone can afford to fly any where. The author seems to feel that the aviation industry is busily keeping as many secrets as possible in some kind of conspiracy.

Dec 08, 2015

A great one for the plane...or maybe not.

May 26, 2014

Full Upright and Locked Position: Not-so-Comfortable Truths about Air Travel Today --- by Mark Gerchick. Gerchick is an “aviation consultant” and a former member of the FAA so he ought to know his stuff. He’s written a very readable, highly informative book with an extensive Bibliography which should be of interest to all of us: air travellers; frequent flyers; and “road warriors” as he calls them. Right off the start: there’s nothing particularly shocking in this book nor is there anything most of the flying public didn’t already know or suspect. But to have it all laid out for, economical warts, technological shortcomings and justifications is, none the less, enlightening and not about to raise anybody’s blood pressure too much .After all, all the nasties of air travel are things with which most of us have come to terms long ago. Pleasantly written, pleasant to read: you might even take this with you to read on the plane.

ksoles Aug 24, 2013

A hot meal? Free checked baggage? A welcoming smile from a living, breathing employee? Forget it. Welcome to the world of modern air travel, a mean, profit-seeking business that places passengers at its mercy. In his entertaining and fascinating new book, former FAA chief counsel and Transportation Department policy official Mark Gerchick explores the industry's transformation since the jet fuel cost explosion in 2008 and the terrorist attacks of 9/11.

Gerchick provides peeks into seat-price schemes and shows why the hassles of airline miles programs outweigh their benefits. He gives insight into the causes of flight delays and of lost (and damaged) luggage. He rattles off statistics about onboard fatalities and divulges why forcing passengers to arrive uber-early equals profitable “dwell time” for airport businesses. He revolts readers with health-related information pertaining to the barely potable water used to make coffee and the zillions of bacteria residing on the bathroom door lock. Perhaps most resonantly, he explains how airlines no longer sell flights but rather “a bundle of separable, flight-related services — transportation of luggage, making a reservation, having a seat assigned, snacks and drinks, legroom, even jet fuel.”

Although some mild repetition throughout the chapters becomes tedious, Gerchick effectively and engagingly brings light to the "new normal of air travel." He does smartly include some hope for the future in the form of forthcoming technological improvements to the industry but, by in large, sitting back and relaxing appears to be a thing of the past.

Jul 21, 2013

Seems that there is a mention of September 11 or 9/11 on nearly every page. Enough of this crap already. I KNOW it changed air travel; nobody who is reading this book cares anymore.

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