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37 Reviews
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Alain de Botton's new book...
Customers who buy Alain de Botton's books always know they are in for a thought provoking read, so this book was no exception, Its not just about airports per se but a book about life, people and how we choose to live. I thought the stories from behind the scenes were fascinating. The only fault is the actual book, its a poor quality paper back, the cover split from the...
Published on 30 Oct 2009 by Helena Gee-Hood

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating insight into goings on at Terminal 5
This compact book is an interesting insight into goings on at Terminal 5. Alain de Botton was appointed to be the Writer-in-Residence of BAA (the owners of Heathrow Airport) and was asked to write about what goes on at Heathrow. de Botton only agreed to do this if what he found could not be censored or controlled by BAA themselves. He needed free reign.

De...
Published on 22 Mar 2011 by adeej


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a book!, 31 Jan 2012
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This review is from: A Week at the Airport: A Heathrow Diary (Paperback)
I do enjoy reading this but it should be emphasised that this is not a book: rather it is a pamphlet with numerous photos on each page. I was surprised how thin the pamphlet is and how brief each aspect he discusses. I would have thought he would have much more to write about. I agree he does write well. However this is no more than a very quick, light and entertaining hour's read. No more.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hand Baggage Only, 2 Nov 2011
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This review is from: A Week at the Airport: A Heathrow Diary (Paperback)
This was never going to be one of those Airport Blockbusters that one buys in WHS to read by the pool.This is a slim volume, probably timed to read nicely between Heathrow and Charles de Gaulle.
I work at an International Airport- not Heathrow- but have spent a bit of time working overtime in Terminal 4.
Therefore I was expecting a inside view of the new Terminal 5, the passengers and the workers, with interesting stories.
Unfortunately, I found this book shallow and disappointing. A week is not enough time to garner a good overview of an Airport and all the characters and situations that arise.
An Airport is a twenty four hour place with the same number of inhabitants as a small city; everyone has a story to tell- sadly not explored in this book. This a waste of a good opportunity.
If you want a good read on what goes on behind the scenes at a busy International Airport- read 'Airport Babylon' or watch 'Come Fly with Me', although that is a spoof comedy programme- it is a lot truer than this book.
Sorry- I thought this book a waste of time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Airports are more than they seem..., 17 Aug 2011
By 
L. Stanford - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Week at the Airport: A Heathrow Diary (Paperback)
This was the first book I ever read by Alain De Botton which gives an insight into life at Terminal 5 Heathrow. He dedicates his time to looking at the human condition and how we approach travelling and each other. His perspective reveals a love for travel and experience that I believe could evoke something within all of us. His writing revels in the beauty of metaphors, to tell of the brief encounters he had with people at the terminal and how we all overlook these factors when we board a flight.

For anyone who appreciates a book that delves into philosophy, travel and people.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Atmospheric, 31 Oct 2009
This review is from: A Week at the Airport: A Heathrow Diary (Paperback)
De Botton provides a beautifully atmopsheric snapshot of a week in the life of Heathrow airport's new Terminal 5. His evident love of people and travel shine through as he takes a big picture view of life at the airport and shoots it through with myriad incisive observations of people and things. His thoughtful, reflective, approach and elegant use of language combine to create a satisfying and often thought provoking read.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Very Slight, 22 July 2014
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A bit of a potboiler really. As a frequent flyer, I hoped for more original insights but it felt like Alain de Botton was struggling to find subject matter within the highly artificial constraint of being writer in residence at an airport. The Art of Travel says much the same but much better, as indeed did "Come Fly With Me", the excellent BBC comedy mockumentary about an airport.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational tour of the world-within-a-world that is an airport, 28 May 2014
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Beautiful. Real. Well documented. I enjoyed this book from cover to cover, and made me go back for more by Botton.
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5.0 out of 5 stars You don't realise what goes on there!, 13 April 2014
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There's so much more than what you see on Love Actually but it's as wonderful as that. This puts emotion and feeling into the experience you wouldn't articulate like this.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The universality of our airport experiences, 14 Jan 2014
By 
Mr Ulster (Belfast, Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Week at the Airport: A Heathrow Diary (Paperback)
Perhaps poignantly after just returning from a long and splendid transatlantic Christmastime holiday, and getting back into routine in the return to work, I finished Alain de Botton's book, A Week at the Airport.

A Week at the Airport is a short and compact book ("Slender enough to pack in your carry-on", Daily Mail). It can be considered an addendum of sorts of his previous book, The Art of Travel (from which one learns that de Botton is a home bird, really; see my separate review).

I've always liked Alain de Botton's use of illustrations and imagery interspersed with his narratives. In this case, Richard Baker adds wonderful value with his insightful photographs.

A Week at the Airport is just that -- the chief executive of BAA granted the author unrestricted access throughout the world's busiest airport, Heathrow.

"In such lack of constraints, I felt myself to be benefitting from a tradition wherein the wealthy merchant enters into a relationship with an artist fully prepared for him to behave like an outlaw; he does not expect good manners, he knows and is half delighted by the idea that the favoured baboon will smash his crockery."

Thankfully de Botton does behave himself and doesn't offend the airport staff, or perhaps more importantly, the security folk at the Border Agency.

The book is divided into four sections, reflecting the main dimensions of our airport experience -- Approach, Departures, Airside and Arrivals.

I like de Botton's philosophical insights into the otherwise mundane, or at least those aspects of daily life that we usually don't think twice about.

For example, airport hotels. Even with their poetic menus, which de Botton does his best to elevate, an airport hotel is functionary; unlike their countryside siblings, you don't select an airport hotel for its environmental surroundings.

Though there's no harm in trying to appeal to aesthetic beauty. Terminal 5 "wanted to have a go" at replicating the experience of arriving at Jerusalem's elaborate Jaffa Gate, to welcome those who have travelled great distances to the promise and prospect of a new country.

But baggage retrieval and finding your car in the parking lot (or silent taxi transfer) quickly erases such euphoria.

de Botton's strength is inserting the human condition in every aspect of life. Lest you think he doesn't really recommend airport travel, de Botton is an unfailing romantic (and thankfully so). When he describes our human encounters -- in this case with hotel staff, fellow passengers, border control agents, and those we're departing and reuniting with -- de Botton evokes the universality of our existence. At least those of us who have ever experienced airports.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Philosophy of the everyday, 22 Dec 2013
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This review is from: A Week at the Airport: A Heathrow Diary (Paperback)
Always a thought-provoking writer, Alain de Botton has taken a place we usually hurry through with an earnest desire to escape and showed us a new way to experience the richness of human experience there. You never know when you will be detained over-long in an airport terminal and be in need of some kind of philosophy to save you from madness!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly erudite, 26 Dec 2012
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This review is from: A Week at the Airport: A Heathrow Diary (Paperback)
I have become an affliction ado of Alain de Boton after just this one read. He is so erudite, which is thought provoking and entertaining all in one. Very different from what I imagined this book would be lie, it surpassed anything I could have and did, expect.
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A Week at the Airport: A Heathrow Diary
A Week at the Airport: A Heathrow Diary by Alain de Botton (Paperback - 24 Sep 2009)
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