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Hard Landing: The Epic Contest for Power and Profits That Plunged the Airlines into Chaos
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Hard Landing: The Epic Contest for Power and Profits That Plunged the Airlines into Chaos

4.31 of 5 stars 4.31  ·  rating details  ·  178 ratings  ·  20 reviews
In this updated paperback edition of a "rich, readable, and authoritative" Fortune) book, Wall Street Journal reporter Petzinger tells the dramatic story of how a dozen men, including Robert Crandall of American Airlines, Frank Borman of Eastern, and Richard Ferris of United, battled for control of the world's airlines. 416 pp. Radio drive-time pubilcity. 20,000 print.
Paperback, 624 pages
Published December 24th 1996 by Three Rivers Press (first published January 1st 1995)
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Hella Comat
Very (too much for me) detailed account of deregulation of the airlines in the US. The story of the CEOs and presidents who ran the airlines and the anecdotes about their lives and personalities interested me more, as well as the creativity and ruthlessness it took to evolve the industry and keep trying to make a profit.
This long read (416 pages) contains a very detailed explanation of the challenges involved in managing a major airline. In the years following deregulation of the industry, CEOs faced an extremely challenging environment to stay afloat. IN an often cuthroat marketplace they were forced to pare back costs in all ways imagineable. I was previously unaware of the importance of online fare structues and the involvement of travel agencies to attract customers.
Hard Landing by Thomas Petzinger is one of the most comprehensive overviews of the airline industry and its subsets. This book not only covers the major players and looks at the personal lives of the titans who built the industry but also the rise and fall of companies such as Pan Am, Eastern and TWA. It focuses mostly on United and American but also looks at groups like Southwest, Frontier and Barniff. From the struggles of deregulation to the price wars of the 1980's this is one of the most co ...more
There are relatively few books on the recent history of the airline industry. This is odd considering how key the industry is, on the other hand, I haven't seen a history of Greyhound Bus Lines for sale recently either.

This book contains a great amount of fascinating detail, but it could have used a great deal of editorial assistance. Not for the writing itself, but for the organization. The history is presented in a maddeningly scatter-shot way, with great gaps in continuity. I would like very
Dustin Curtis
Long. Good, but focused heavily on business mechanics rather than human-facing effects of the airlines.
Hard Landing is a wonderfully written and well researched book about the chaos of the post deregulation era of the airline industry. The book reads less like a history book and more like a fiction novel, but truth (in this case) is much stranger than fiction. If you would like to know more about the airlines, and the travel industry as well, Hard Landing covers everything from the uniqueness of business practices in an oligopolistic industry to the reason why you pay so much for everything if yo ...more
I learned so much about the airline industry. I wouldn't recommend this to everyone, but for someone like me, who has an interest in aviation and airlines, it was a wonderful read. Actually, I think anyone who has an interest in business and larger than life evil CEO characters might enjoy this. It appears to be very well sourced, if a bit out of date. (It was last updated in the late 90s).
Jerry Smith
In depth review of the de-regulation of the aviation industry in the US in the 80s and 90s that resulted in the demise of Eastern, Pan Am and others and saw the rise of American, Southwest etc.

Told in terms of the companies themsleves but more specifically the CEOs who took them through deregulation. Fascinating.
Very interesting look at the airline industry from the end of regulation and the beginning of deregulation. Moral of the story: the airline industry has been messed up from the very beginning and that labor and contract issues have been running this industry from the very beginning.
Jan 17, 2012 Andy rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: 5-star
An absolute must for anyone interested in aviation. As a professional pilot, I found it fascinating to look back into the lives of the "robber barons" that created the airline industry. Tons of humor, insight, and research organized in a very readable manner.
Sep 15, 2007 Vera rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone in the aviation industry
Amazing research and material used to uncover the aviation industry at its best - and worst. Judging from the numberous direct quotes the author had in the book, I must conclude that he was literally a fly on the wall in many a meeting room.
Great book with history of the airline industry. Good mix of pro-labor and anti-labor. As a child who grem up in the eighties, it was interesting to revisit what happened to all those companies.
Fascinating. What a ride. The airline industry is truly the most fascinating industry in the world. And its leaders are such dynamic, interesting, and in some cases, horrible men.
A great book about the major players in the building of the airline industry. The author did extensive research and is clearly passionate about the topic.
Nov 08, 2008 Comaskeyk001 rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: airline workers
Deregulation and the airline industry...esp good read now that the "free market" excesses have run their inevitable course
Dec 18, 2009 Matt added it
Shelves: history
A solid history of the growing pains experienced by the major US carriers for a generation following deregulation.
so fascinating, even though dated... incredible history lesson and as usual- it comes down to people.
A surprisingly compelling and drama-filled look at the business of the airline business.
An engrossing look into the dynamic history of the airline industry.
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“Part of the Growth Plan's genius lay in how diabolical it was. The one controlling obstacle to the plan, of course, were the unions at American [Airlines in the early 1980s]. The very concept of a two-tier wage system ran 180 degrees counter to the fundamental all-for-one, one-for-all principles of unionism. But the Growth Plan was conspicuously structured to benefit _existing_ union members, who in an expanding airline would enjoy vastly greater promotion opportunities, meaning that their salaries would increase even more than otherwise. The incumbent employees would reap this windfall on the backs of future employees, but what did it matter when the winners under this strategy were the only ones able to vote on the proposal?” 0 likes
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