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25 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What's Wrong With Commercial Air Travel and How to Fix It
William J. McGee used to love to travel by air. Now he doesn't. I know how he feels. Like McGee, I've been fascinated with aviation since childhood and made it my career. For years, any time I could spend in an airport was fine by me. Now I avoid them. Once you're out of the airport and onto the plane, it's no better. Full flights, suspicious flight crews, cranky...
Published on June 27, 2012 by takingadayoff

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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Mostly Whiny Generalizations and Suppositions
There's at least one serious safety problem hidden within U.S. commercial aviation (lower pilot training etc. standards for smaller aircraft), but author McGee doesn't do a good job of covering even that one. 'Attention All Passengers' is predominately rambling and anecdotal, with heavy emphasis on employees upset by outsourcing to low-cost contractors, lower-level salary...
Published on July 26, 2012 by Loyd E. Eskildson


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25 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What's Wrong With Commercial Air Travel and How to Fix It, June 27, 2012
William J. McGee used to love to travel by air. Now he doesn't. I know how he feels. Like McGee, I've been fascinated with aviation since childhood and made it my career. For years, any time I could spend in an airport was fine by me. Now I avoid them. Once you're out of the airport and onto the plane, it's no better. Full flights, suspicious flight crews, cranky passengers, fewer amenities, higher prices. McGee says it doesn't have to be this way.

In Attention All Passengers, McGee explains how things work behind the scenes in aviation in a clear manner. He's obviously troubled by the way that a combination of deregulation and heightened security has turned the pleasure of air travel into an unpleasant slog.

McGee doesn't dispute that air travel is now safer than it ever has been, but he also observes that the margins of safety built into every aspect of aviation have been eroded to a dangerous extent by financial need and greed. At the top of his danger list is the outsourcing of aircraft maintenance. The repairs, maintenance, and inspections that used to take place in the United States, are now happening in China and El Salvador and elsewhere, where the standards may or may not be equivalent to our own. Even where the training and licensing are up to standard, there's another menace - counterfeit parts. Parts can be expensive and where the inspections are lax or nonexistent, rebuilt or counterfeit parts can easily be substituted for new parts.

McGee identifies deregulation as a mixed bag -- it brought ticket prices down but created more competition. That worked until the drop off of passengers after 9/11 and the astronomical expense of increased security measures. Airlines had to start cutting costs and it was only a matter of time until they found creative methods such as outsourcing, union busting, lower wages, a la carte pricing, and codesharing.

McGee's discussion of codesharing is fascinating, revealing how even a careful and observant customer can buy a ticket on a flight that appears to be on a major airline, but discover that the trip is on a small plane operated by a small regional airline. The pilot may have significantly less experience than a captain for a major airline and the plane may be subject to different inspection standards. And if anything goes wrong, the major airline that is named on your ticket may offer you no more than sympathy. Apparently the public as well as the airline executives are willing to tolerate more accidents involving smaller aircraft.

Attention All Passengers looks at many aspects of flying, mostly from a consumer perspective, and explains how we got to this state and how air travel can be improved. We may never return to the relative travel paradise of pre-9/11 days, but McGee clearly outlines how we can move from the sorry state of airline travel we have now to a system that is more secure and maybe even enjoyable.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pageturner, July 3, 2012
A remarkable read. "Attention" manages to avoid cheap sensationalism, instead unfolding like the smart person's Whodunit where the stakes are...us, the passengers. McGee's reporter's eye and a storyteller's flair conspire to soberly grab you by the lapels and insist you pay attention, guiding you layer by layer, turn by turn through the labyrinthian airline industry, what it was, what it's become and, most importantly, how it can be fixed - which, as the author makes clear, is an urgent priority.

Mr. McGee's book on flying is essential reading for anyone that leaves the ground. Wow.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hopefully the catalyst for (legitimate) discussion and action, June 30, 2012
There is one thing that nearly every American can agree on: Flying is a disagreeable experience. To no fault of the good, honest everyday airline workforce. Rather, it's the philosophy behind the whole darn industry. And that's a shame. Because air travel should--and could--be a way for America to excel and distinguish ourselves. We could still be the best in the world at this. Instead we've devolved. We cut corners. We focus on the cheap and profitable way to conduct business. Well, good on William McGee for laying out exactly what's wrong, and offering a lucid and practical vision for the future.

I love to travel and see our incredible country. And I would do it so much more...if it weren't the most disheartening experience. From the ticket purchase to the delays/cancellations to the moment when I see that my $500 has bought a seat that I'm embarrassed to escort my wife into. Let's all rally around ATTENTION ALL PASSENGERS.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Description of the Decline of and What Ails the US Airline Industry, March 13, 2013
By 
The author, William J.McGee is a veteran airline professional and writer about the industry. If one is familiar with the industry as a professional or educated observer this book contains nothing new. If you think flying in the US these days is peachy keen, you won't like this book. There is no doubt about two things: First, like many of us professionals who worked in or around the industry prior to deregulation, he regards deregulation as having been disasterous for customer service and the health of the US "system of systems" of local service carriers and of "trunk carriers." Regulation ensured competition on most routes; prevented predatory fare wars; ensured safety standards; and made competition based on levels and types of customer service. He makes a good case that the US regulated airline system provided a public utility - serving the entire country - that served the needs of travelers who needed - for speed, urgency or business - to pay a premium fare above that of a bus, train (non-existent for a large part after 1971)or private automobile. Second, McGhee casts light on serious safety issues including: outsourcing of over 50% of US airline traffic to "regional airlines" employing lesser trained and paid pilots and small uncomfortable aircraft; outsourcing reservations - with the passenger being discouraged from telephone contact to unknowledgable foreign call centers; outsourcing maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) to El Salvador and China beyond effective FAA supervision; and unsafe cost-cutting on the part of the airlines.

This work will not please those who believe that the most important factors in running an airline are profit and market share as McGhee is more than a bit polemic about leveraged buy-outs and placing the interests of stock holders above those of the flying public. He is, of course a consumer advocate who happens to know a lot about the airline industry. He continuously points out the humongous salaries and stock packages such as those paid to Glenn Tilton at United as that carrier went into a tail spin with employees losing their pensions and stock options...and, of course those that remained are told to do more with less. He describes how, through bait and switch and a public be damned attitude airlines in essence, lie cheat and steal from their passengers with the Department of Transportation able to do little. He makes the point that today's US airlines are no longer run by people who knew aviation such as Juan Trippe or Eddie Rickenbacker, but by MBA's who have no idea how the Economy Class crowd is treated because they only fly in First Class. As non-flight oriented products of the post-deregulation era in which the goal of the MBA's running the industry has been to make airline travel as accessible as bus travel and as comfortable and service-oriented as the same they have no historical knowledge of what a great airline system we once had.

Again, those of us who have or who work in the industry or around it wil be "shocked, shocked" (as in the movie "Casablanca") over the infammias that author McGhee points a spotlight on - often repetitiously. However, these issues need to be brought into public discussion.

McGhee makes the case that Americans need to take their skies back and suggests that pressure be put on the industry for some modified reregulation and enforcement of safety standards. He calls upon the FAA to stop regarding those that they regulate as "customers" or "stakeholders." (Which will inflame right-wingers who regard government as a "business.") He says we should demand that MRO be carried out in the US; that there be a codified "Passenger Bill of Rights;" that Regional Airlines be forced to have the same standards as those whose logos they wear; that the Justice Department crack down on overt scams and excesses; and that we have a National Transportation Policy coordinating all of our means of passenger transportation. This book will not be well-received in corporate suites in Tempe, Chicago or Atlanta but it raises lots of valid points. Easy four stars.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars NECESSARY DIALOG ON AIRLINE SAFETY, June 28, 2012
This book covers many aspects of air travel from costs to customer service and is written so the average consumer can understand the situation.
As a frequent flyer to visit children and grandchildren in other countries I especially appreciate William McGee confronting airline safety.
Until the airlines and US government address the safety situation, repeat of airline news is necessary to keep the dialog going.
I recommend this book to anyone who gets on a plane.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Read, September 18, 2012
Attention All Passengers talks about the issues of the airline industry today, and the author gives a good description on how to fix the industry (starting with re-regulation), but the issues in the book are not just about the airlines, they're universal. If we listen to what William McGee is trying to say, we can not only fix the airline industry, we can fix countless other issues. I know people might not want to read this book because it might scare them, but the industry will only get scarier unless something is done.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pitiful state of commercial air travel, September 3, 2012
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This review is from: Attention All Passengers: The Truth About the Airline Industry (Kindle Edition)
I have flown a lot in the past 40 years, both for work and pleasure. The current state of affairs with U.S. commercial airlines is the worst I've seen. It's a crap shoot every time I board a plane. The airline industry is the only one I can think of, right off hand, that does everything possible to piss off customers rather than to provide better service, and then wonder why they have to go into bankruptcy and why their customers hate them.

McGee does a good job of explaining the decline of the industry and supporting his arguments in the appendices and references at the back of the book. The airlines are not the "customers" of the FAA. The FAA is the regulating agency to oversee the industry. Congress is not doing its job with funding the FAA adequately so it can do its job. The list goes on with the breakdown of the whole system.

I'm retired now, so I can at least drive to my destinations in the US and Canada. Too bad I have to fly elsewhere!
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Serious Stuff, June 29, 2012
For anyone who has flown since 9/11 or lost a job due to outsourcing or had their retirement invested in Enron then this is the book for you! The author is covering how bad air travel has gotten from safety to prices to how to get a seat but more importantly he is covering all the issues we face from corporate America today. I think he writes so we can all understand what has happened and it needs to be said over and over again until something is done about some important changes. I hope every traveler who passes through an airport stops at a shop and picks this up to read on the plane (that is if their flight leaves and on time!).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reclaiming our skies, January 24, 2013
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Just finished reading this book and had to comment immediately. I found that "Attention All Passengers - The Airlines' Dangerous Decent- and How to Reclaim Our skies by William Mcgee, was a fantastic examination with the troublesome Airline industry. This book is a must read if you are someone who flies frequently or cares about others that use commercial aviation for their travels. Mcgee, examines the many mishaps with not just the major airline carriers, but the FAA, TSA, NTSB, Congress, and the Executive branch. Fantastic book, well written, well researched, very easy to read. If you are AT ALL interested in airplanes, aviation, airports, whatever, read this book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a ride!, September 27, 2012
William McGee takes you on a roller coaster of emotions in this well-researched and well-written expose of the airline industry. I'll never go on another flight again without thinking about what's written here. Well done!
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