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3.8 out of 5 stars
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3.8 out of 5 stars
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on 6 October 2006
I loved this book. As a frequent long distance flyer and an employee in the hotel business I felt I could relate to most of what went on the book.It also opened my eyes to many events that must occur whilst flying and how airline staff deal with them - things that I had not considered before. My husband is a terrible flyer and he also read this book and in a bizare way it assisted him overcome some of his previous fears and gave him a few new things to think about.This book made me laugh (and cry) and since reading it I have bought all of the others in the series and thoroughly enjoyed them too, especially Hotel Babylon. Even if you are not a big reader buy this book and give it a go as it is a great read!!!
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on 31 August 2006
Definitely an enjoyable read - good for the holidays, provided you're not too squeamish about reading things like this when you may be flying. Having some experience of the airline industry, it certainly rings true to life.

The only thing I would pick up, and apologies for the pedantry here, is the claim that both the airport and airline have been "anonymized". I'm afraid that's only true in the loosest of senses - the geographical background is very much Heathrow, and some of the jargon used is rather British Airways specific. That failed artifice, for me, lost the book its 5th star.
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I read 'Air Babylon' during a recent trip to NY, enduring a number of BA cabin crew telling me it was all pure fiction. It is a very interesting concept in revealing the trade secrets of a chosen industry and a difficult one to pull off - my only criticism is that the 'do you remember the time that..." anecdotes come a bit too thick and fast towards the end of the book and do not flow into the day's diary of events as smoothly as the earlier chapters set in the Airport. There is some real food for thought here (speaking of which, you may never eat an airline meal again after reading this). In summary 'Air Babylon' will really get you thinking about very aspect of the flying experience next time you pass through a UK Airport, which may not be a good thing for the more nervous flyers out there.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 20 August 2013
Ones attitude to the book is likely going to depend on the expectations - if you were hoping for a first hand expose of the industry, Barbara Ehrenreich style, disappointment is sure to follow. If you see it more as 'entertainment', with an airline twist to it and some factual information thrown in with some dubious urban legends, it may very well work.

The book supposedly follows a 24 hour cycle of a fictional airline duty manager at Heathrow, including all the ground duties he would have to perform during a typical day followed by a flight to Dubai to get the air aspects covered. As the author claims to have collected the various stories from many anonymous contributors, the day is certainly spiced up for the readers, offering as many incidents as possible, from escaped snakes, illegal immigrants, nasty food 'seasoning' by put out staff, dead passengers, aircraft malfunctions to the 'cannot be missed' sex on the plane.

As mentioned by other reviewers, several aspects are more a thing of the past and used primarily to make it a more shocking and thereby engaging read. There are also factual errors, which with some more dilligent research simply should not have happened.

Still, parts of it read well, several aspects are not too far from the truth and the basics - i.e. treat the airline staff in a normal corteous manner and you are unlikely to be 'punished' in turn - are essentially right.

While not so obviously an advertorial for the airline industry like for instance You F'Coffee Sir?!!! (The Real Air Hostesses' Handbook), it may well attract some young, 'fun loving' people to the sector (it may also turn some of them off, though).

For me it read better overall than You F'Coffee Sir?!!! (The Real Air Hostesses' Handbook), even if factually it strayed a lot further from the usual standard found on airlines nowadays. In the end, I would rather recommend it as lightly fictional holiday entertainment than as your in-depth guide to what really goes on behind closed doors in the airline sector.
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on 16 November 2006
This may not be the most accurate portrayal of life behind the scenes at an airline, but it's a really pleasant read, makes you laugh and is just good fun.

It made me smile almost every page, and isn't detailed enough to bore the pants off non-flyers.

Granted - it's more of a novel, than a behind the scenes expose, but it's still a well written journey through a life that many of will never get to see.

I recommend it as a no nonsense, good fun read.
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on 25 June 2006
I got this book as a birthday present from my brother without asking for it and not even having heard of it. I read it with a lot of scepticism. However, by about the 3rd page all of that had gone and i discovered that, like Hotel Babylon, this book is hilarious on every page.

Imogen Edward-Jones has written a truly incredible book here and it certainly makes you think twice when you fly, although i do still query the truthfulness of it all! If you are looking for a present or a holiday read then get it...or of course if you just want a good laugh over a few hundred pages then its perfect for that too! The only thing to remember is to be nice to your check-in staff next time (read the book and see why!)
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on 25 July 2006
Fantasic read. You will take a different look at flying now. A really great read, enjoyed every word of it. It has got humor and drama, a perfect read for the summer and every time of the year. Will find it hard to put down.
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on 10 June 2009
silly but funny! Of course it's all ridiculously exaggerated and contrived. no single flight could possibly have dead bodies, air rage, and sex as well as all the other crazy things that happen. but the author is honest enough to admit it's all a compliation of stories from various people and it's very easy to read. I agree with a few earlier comments that it's odd that the main character is a man - not totally convinced by that - but it's a great book for a holiday and I'm glad I finally got around to reading it!
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on 10 September 2005
I really enjoyed this book, and to make it even better, i lent it to a collegue who has been an air hostess for a couple of airlines, she also found it hilarious, and whats more, she says that as far as she's concerned, it's all very likely to be true!! (even though she wouldn't admit anything herself!)
Just don't read it after flying, but if your about to go on a long haul, read it, it might just help you survice the flight a little better!
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on 9 July 2005
I do not know the author of this book, but I would suggest that she interviewd cabin crew who retired many many years ago. I do not disagree about the appalling behaviour of the passengers - the stories continue in perpetuity. However, the suggestions regarding panty-line checks, bait and switch in duty free, passing wind on passengers, and ex-lax in food is far from reality. If those crew exist, they will have only been with the airline a short-time and are long gone.
Weight checks? Get real! The airline would be slapped with a discrimination suit quicker than you could evacuate an A330! And sex with crew? Well, the author clearly hasn't flown on a long-haul flight in years. Go hop on an American Airlines or United Airlines flight. You'll find the average age of the crew to be...well...deceased! And as for weight? Some of them may as well have a save the whales sticker on their back-sides.
The glamour days of the airline industry are long gone. There are no longer five-star hotels, long stop-overs, and time for booze parties. Today the air crew are over-worked, exhausted professionals who are there for safety and not the whims of some self-serving narcissist who scraped up enough air-miles for an upgrade to Business Class, but didn't have - and probably never will have the money to fly in First. This book read as if the author read an original copy of Fly Me and the Fly Girls that was published in the early seventies. It has absolutely no basis in fact any longer. And after saying all of this..perhaps the author limited her interviews to crew who worked for one of the Middle East carriers. There, a large number of the crew think they're there for a party, but they don't realise that they have become the passenger's party favours. What a waste of paper this was!
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