Customer Review

4.0 out of 5 stars Book Least Likely to Be Sold at the Airport Bookstore, 18 Jun 2010
This review is from: The Titanic Awards: Celebrating the Worst of Travel (Paperback)
Doug Lansky has traveled enough to realize that no one wants to hear about your marvelous trip - the scenic vistas, the romantic lodgings, the fabulous food. What people really want to hear about is what went wrong and the more disastrous the better. Tell them about your moonlit night on a gondola in Venice and eyes glaze over. Until you get to the part where you fell out of the gondola into the canal.

The bad travel experiences in The Titanic Awards don't often result in either hilarity or tragedy. They sometimes are no more than complaints or mild rants, such as that internet access at five-star hotels costs too much. The book is laid out like a long magazine article with lots of lists, charts, and quotations. You can easily read a few pages at a time while you're watching TV, or do as Lansky suggests and keep it in the bathroom.

Many Titanic Awards will inspire you to nominate your own candidates for worst beach, for example. It would have to be pretty bad to beat the one in the United Arab Emirates, which collects so much oil from passing tankers that, according to the book, it has beach showers equipped with industrial cleaners and pot scrubbers to get the tar balls off your feet.

Many of the "Titanic Awards" were given to Ryanair for their numerous innovations. Their proposal to reconfigure aircraft for passengers to stand for the entire flight, for instance, or the plan to charge passengers to use the on board toilets. If you follow travel and aviation news at all, you may already be familiar with many of the trinkets in the book.

Some of the lists are a bit mysterious. The one that most perplexed me was "Lamest Natural Wonders of the World" which had the Grand Canyon as the 4th lamest natural wonder. The Grand Canyon? Lame? According to the list, the Great Barrier Reef and Mount Everest are slightly less lame than the Grand Canyon.

Some of my favorite sections were the worst airline meals and worst airline paint schemes. Black and white photographs were included to highlight the awfulness of both. Best story in the book was Joe Sharkey's (New York Times) experience in a mid-air collision over the Amazon.

Recommended disaster travel book: Travels with Myself and Another: A Memoir by Martha Gellhorn, Bad Trips edited by Keath Fraser, and Undress Me In The Temple Of Heaven by Susan Jane Gilman.
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