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Loyola English professors tackle the complexities of air travel with new book, website

November 11, 2011

With Thanksgiving less than two weeks away, over 23 million people will be taking to the skies between Friday, Nov. 18 and Tuesday, Nov. 29. Airports will be crowded, flights will be delayed and baggage will be lost. This holiday season, however, two Loyola University New Orleans English professors are putting a new twist on travel with a website and co-authored memoir dedicated to the trials, tribulations and tantrums often involved in air travel.

In their new book “Checking In/Checking Out,” Mark Yakich and Chris Schaberg rejuvenate the airplane travel experience with quirky, sincere and irreverent tales of issues of travel, work, technology, security, faith, reading, writing and parenthood.

On one side, the book relates behind-the-scenes stories of Schaberg, a former employee of United Airlines at the Gallatin Field Airport outside Bozeman, Montana. The other side tells the story of Yakich’s lifelong efforts to cure a fear of flying.

"The stories of air travel are far from simple, and anything but clear,” Yakich said. “Rather, they are full of idiosyncratic dramas, eccentric worries and a million unannounced small miracles every day."

In an effort to engage the public, Yakich and Schaberg also created airplanereading.org, a new website that asks fellow travelers and writers to share their own anecdotes, observations and experiences, both good and bad, about the rigors of travel.

The ongoing anthology about air travel includes daily posts that range from “The Day the Epic Beast Died,” one man’s last-ditch effort to get home via plane after his classic Ford Econline camper died, to “Do You Suffer from Baggage Irregularity?,” another author’s humorous account of losing his luggage in Phoenix.

Airplanereading.org is open to submissions and has received positive reviews and achieved a national following from writers and travelers alike. “Checking In/Checking Out,” is currently available for purchase online at Amazon.com, at the Loyola University Bookstore, Garden District Books, and Hudson Booksellers in the Louis Armstrong International Airport.

For more information, contact Jess Brown at 504-861-5882 or jlbrown@loyno.edu.

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