Gerald Butt

Come Fly with Me

The Balloon Factory: The Story of the Men Who Built Britain’s First Flying Machine


Picador 243pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

In its publicity campaign prior to the opening of Heathrow’s Terminal 5, British Airways promised to put ‘the enjoyment back into travel’. But even ignoring the embarrassing fiasco at that launch and the frustrations of lengthy security checks every time you fly, BA was fooling itself in thinking that it could, all of a sudden, put the joy back into air travel. Airlines over the years have gone out of their way to quash any lingering sense that flying might be a source of wonder. From the earliest days, operators realised the need to woo customers by stressing that the activity was safe. The word fun was too easily associated with adventure, which in turn suggested danger. 

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