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“Tales from the Tarmac” is a fun read, with a variety of anecdotes about the airline business. The author worked at Kennedy Airport in a variety of customer service positions, with several different international airlines. Stories about unaccompanied minors whose parents forgot to come get them at the airport, about a passenger of size getting stuck in a too small wheelchair, and a particularly sad story about a mentally challenged woman who was evidently dumped by her family by being put on a plane to the US when she was in no way capable of taking care of herself. The woman spoke no English, only German, and Claudia, who speaks German, tried to help her but was successful only up to a point.
The most poignant was the story of the events on the ground in New York after the Pan Am plane was bombed over Lockerbie, Scotland. In those days, with no Internet or social media, the relatives who came to meet the flight had no idea what had happened, and were of course distraught and shocked when they learned. Claudia was one of the staffers who had to deal with this.
The stories are interesting, first person tales. Some of the stories in the back of the book seem to have been contributed by others. One series is about an Iranian/American family, where the man was at one time the personal pilot for the Shah, and who had an adventure getting his family and himself out of Iran after the revolution.
While the tales are entertaining, this book would have benefited from an editor. There are many, many examples of incorrect spelling, choosing the wrong word (‘there’ instead of ‘their’, for instance) and indifferent grammar. The stories could have been structured better – this book reads like someone talking to you about what happened to her, in a stream of consciousness style. And the stories in the back of the book are a little confusing, in that it’s hard to determine who the narrator is.
All in all, an interesting book for someone who is in the travel business or travels a lot, but not as well-written as one would have hoped.
Disclosure: A free copy of this book was given to the volunteer with the understanding that they would write a fair and honest review of it.
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