Soap Opera in the Air

We’ve heard from pilots about life in the sky (Ask the Pilot), but here’s a book from the perspective of ground-staff personnel: Imogen Edwards-Jones’ Air Babylon.

The first thing to know is that this is fictionalized. She writes with the help of several anonymous sources, then piles all their different, but true, stories together in a fanciful “expose” of the airport business.

It’s pretty entertaining, and pretty scary, since it describes a fictional 24-hours-in-the-life of a ground crew at a London airport, working for a make-believe, mid-sized international carrier.

Essentially, she’s packed all these bad events together into a single day of hell. You’ve got passengers dying of heart attacks during long trips (and what do they do with the bodies??), you’ve got snakes on the plane, you’ve got contraband in luggage, drunk flight attendants, unruly passengers, asylum-seekers, boy bands, and, of course, sex.

True or not, exaggerated or not, it’s entertaining.