Date Published: 1968
Book Author: Arthur Hailey
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Fasten Your Seatbelts – This Turbulent Tale Will Carry You Sky-High on a Roller Coaster of Emotion! In 'Airport' by Arthur Hailey, witness a gripping drama that unfolds in a bustling microcosm known as Lincoln International Airport, situated near the sprawling metropolis of Chicago. As a record-breaking snowstorm rages, you are swept into a whirlwind of tension, interweaved with human passion, amidst the frenzied hum of this massive air transportation hub.
Our protagonist, Mel Bakersfeld, the stalwart airport manager, wrestles with nature, machinery, and the human spirit to keep the airport afloat. While the snow threatens to drown the runways, and a blocked runway adds to the chaos, Mel must also navigate the turbulence in his personal life. His brother, Keith, an air traffic controller, hangs on a precipice between sanity and despair, haunted by shadows from the skies.
Amidst the tempest, Vern Demerest, a charismatic pilot, embarks on a routine flight to Rome. As if the weather was not enough, an unexpected stowaway named D.O. Guerrero harbors a sinister plot that risks the lives of everyone on board. The flight attendants, particularly Gwen Meighen, with whom Vern shares a tempestuous history, fight to keep order in the pressurized cabin.
Hailey orchestrates a symphony of human stories - from the custodian clearing snow, to the young love burgeoning in the terminal, to the steely determination of Tanya Livingston, the no-nonsense customer relations agent. Together, they personify the pulsating life force of Lincoln International, battling against the forces that seek to bring them crashing down.
Spoilers (click here to reveal spoilers)
The Culmination of a Midair Nail-biter - Thrills, Spills and Triumphant Hearts! As the snowstorm intensifies, so do the trials and tribulations at Lincoln International. The explosive climax sees Mel successfully orchestrating a rescue mission for Demerest’s ill-fated flight. Aboard the aircraft, passengers thwart Guerrero’s deadly plot, and Demerest executes a perilous emergency landing, narrowly averting disaster.
The emotional resolution of the characters echoes the calm after the storm. Keith finds a semblance of peace, albeit tragically. Mel, inspired by the night’s events, reevaluates his personal life, seeking solace outside his loveless marriage. The crucible of the night strengthens the bond between Vern and Gwen. The airport, with its interweaving lives and stories, prepares to face yet another day.
Mel Bakersfeld: The diligent airport manager, embodies responsibility and commitment. His dedication to his work, such as tirelessly coordinating the runway clearance despite his marital problems, exemplifies his unwavering commitment.
Vern Demerest: A confident, audacious pilot, whose bravado often conceals deep-seated insecurities. He stands up to management for his crew’s rights.
Tanya Livingston: A composed, pragmatic customer relations agent. Values honesty and fairness, displayed when she handles disgruntled passengers with grace and transparency.
D.O. Guerrero: A desperate man driven to the brink of madness. His determination to provide for his family, though through dark means, reflects his misguided devotion.
Gwen Meighen: A compassionate flight attendant, values personal connection. Her nurturing nature is evident as she attends to passengers’ needs and provides emotional support to Vern.
Keith Bakersfeld: Mel’s brother and an air traffic controller, he is tormented by his past. His diligent, though neurotic, work reflects his struggle to find purpose and redemption.
Human Resilience: The characters showcase mental and emotional fortitude, as seen in Mel’s unyielding efforts to keep the airport operational during the blizzard.
Interpersonal Relationships: Relationships are tested and developed through crisis, such as the strained marriage of Mel and his wife, and the bond between Vern and Gwen.
Professionalism in Crisis: The airport staff’s unwavering dedication to their roles amidst disaster, from the snow removal teams to the flight crew, exemplifies the theme of professionalism in the face of adversity.
Sacrifice and Redemption: Characters like D.O. Guerrero and Keith exhibit personal sacrifices. Keith, in particular, seeks redemption through sacrifice, highlighting the human capacity for change even in dark times.