Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Minor Collision

This is a report on the end of airports.

Today two 737s clashed their wings on the taxiways of LGA.

One was a Southwest plane, the other American Airlines.

Pictures snapped and tweeted by passengers showed the broken winglet of the Southwest plane, and stupefied workers ambling around the scene, dragging the shorn part across the tarmac.

This was the moment they'd all been waiting for. The moment they'd trained for.

But it was over so soon. No injuries, no fiery crash.

One passenger reported it felt like a car sliding on ice.

It is likely that this incident will turn out to cost several hundred thousand dollars in repairs, rebooking, & investigation. But insurance policies and corporate redundancies will surely mitigate any losses.

The collision will be chalked up to holiday travel, taxiway congestion, and perhaps an air traffic controller (or crew) having taken on an extended shift.

For the affected passengers, it will likely recede into a good holiday story, a not-quite airplane disaster, a mere brush with terminal mortality.

Many years from now, this event may emerge as a key entry in the index of the end of airports. A cracked winglet, amused passengers, gaping ramp workers, eager social media audiences.... Another weary delay in the daily life of air travel.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

The End of Airports


The End of Airports is a sequel to (and kind of a prequel, too) and companion for my book The Textual Life of Airports: Reading the Culture of Flight. Extending from the theories in my first book, but written more like creative nonfiction (sometimes travel writing, sometimes cultural criticism), The End of Airports traces speculative paths around and through airports, and charts a constellation of contemporary puzzles and crisis points that increasingly riddle human air travel. This book has been thrilling to write & put together because it stretches across almost 15 years of travels & thinking about airports. I'm finishing the final manuscript this week, and the book will be published by Bloomsbury in September 2015.