What does an engineer know about frequent flyer programs?
Quite a bit, at least according to E. Larry Beaumont, author of “How To Be a Frequent Flyer — Version 2.0.”
Beaumont, a professional engineer and Senior Vice President and General Manager of eco/Technologies in Littleton, Colo., has recently published his rather satiric take on the world of business travel.
“How To Be a Frequent Flyer” is something of an instruction manual — it takes the reader step-by-step through the process of air travel, from pestering your travel agent to arriving at your hotel. But be warned, it does so with tongue planted firmly in cheek.
With frequent references to “The Law” (“Non-frequent flyers are inferior beings and had better stay out of your way”), the fictitious narrator gives the lowdown not only on how to survive, but triumph in your air travel.
On mentally preparing for your flight: “Hustle over to your library and check out educational videotapes on horse racing. Now you can study, in detail, the characteristics of high strung thoroughbreds crammed into the starting gates at the Kentucky Derby. Your knowledge of the necessary tendencies will be extremely critical at the instant your plane arrives at the destination airport’s arrival gate.”
Or this, on dining at 30,000 feet: “Notice that your knife is plastic because of the new and improved security procedures. You will also notice that your fork is still good ol’ stainless steel. As loudly as possible, laugh and exclaim, ‘Will you look at that? They fixed the knife, but I could do more damage with this fork! Do you realize what these tines could do to someone?’
At this point the Federal marshal you met back at the lavatory will stop by your seat once more for a friendly chat…”
Beaumont’s biting perspective comes largely from 30 years of flying. If you’re a veteran, you might get a kick out of the way he articulates the frustrations we’ve all felt. If you’re looking for the literary equivalent of Kenny G, though, keep on looking. Though Beaumont makes it clear that his narrator is entirely fictional — a satiric jerk invented to illustrate a point — anyone who’s worked in the service industry will no doubt see shades of customers past. Old animosities can die hard.
If you’re interested in ordering a copy, “How To Be a Frequent Flyer” is available at both amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com, but you might get a better deal ($9.50 paperback, $18.50 hardcover) at the publisher’s Web site: http://www.1stbooks.com.