When the in-flight entertainment option isn't exactly lining up with your personal tastes (have I mentioned the Grown-ups 2 on both flight legs fiasco?), you'll be happy you're the kind of person that carries a book everywhere. But even if you've forgotten your trusty novel in all the holiday packing chaos, you may be in luck if you're flying JetBlue.
A new JetBlue and HarperCollins partnership is bringing exclusive book content to the airline's inflight WiFi program, Fly-Fi. Starting the day before Thanksgiving (clearly they are planning professionals), passengers will be able to read excerpts of HarperCollins novels and purchase an e-reading companion from a variety of retailers. The book options will change monthly, so if you're frequent traveler, you'll always have something new to read. First things first: Yes, Amy Poeher's Yes Please is one of the available titles on the first release, so stop worrying.
But what if you're on a different airline or if you're on one of those JetBlue planes that doesn't have the feature yet, you're still going to need a book to read in case of entertainment emergency. (Do I need to tell you about Grown-ups 2 again?) If you like themed stories — stories set in Paris when you're backpacking in France, novels set in college when you're starting your freshman year — there are plenty of plane travel-centric stories to choose from. From brave aviators, to globe-trotting, to steampunk airliners, who would have thought that the plane travel industry would be so exciting?
Contents May Have Shifted by Pam Houston
Contents May Have Shifted takes the famous airplane phrase to tell a story in 144 vignettes, each named after a city destination. Protagonist Pam — based on author Pam — is stuck in a dead-end relationship, and she finds comfort in airline travel, so she flies around the world aiming to leave her metaphorical baggage behind. Pam's love for plane travel may have you second guessing all your travel groaning.
Ask the Passengers by A.S. King
A.S. King's gorgeous story centers on a teenage girl who feels she can't tell anyone in her life that she is falling in love with a girl. So instead, she lies on her back and talks to the passengers on the airplanes that fly overhead, letting her secrets loose into the air. Bet you never knew that your fellow airplane passengers could be so important to the life of a young girl?
TransAtlantic by Colum McCann
National Book Award winner TransAtlantic tells the story of two aviators who attempt the first nonstop flight across the Atlantic to Ireland in a modified bomber plane. And McCann's novel is as sweeping, ambitious, and epic as the flight itself. It will make your little plane trip to JFK seem so small in comparison that you'll probably feel bad complaining about it.
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
It's not commercial airlines that form the focus of Code Name Verity , but rather military aircraft and one brave female pilot. That pilot meets up with a female spy, who is captured by the Gestapo after their plane crash lands in Nazi-occupied France. And as a bonus, the gripping, page-turning thriller will make your hours-long flight seem impossibly short.
Aloft by Chang-Rae Lee
59-year-old Jerry Battle's favorite pastime is flying in his small plane, escaping all the obstacles and troubles far below on the ground. But as we all know, escape isn't that easy. While reading Aloft from your seat 30,000 feet above the ground, you can look down at all the tiny houses, and think about all the tiny lives that are happening in them.
Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
OK, so the Leviathan isn't your ordinary airplane — Westerfeld's novel is set during an alternative, steampunk-version of World War I, and Leviathan is the most powerful whale airship in the British fleet, populated by its loyal crew. Just skip over that whole crash-landing part, and pretend your own tiny seat is actually part of the mythical Leviathan, thrillingly cruising through the skies, and that guy next to you taking up your armrest won't seem as annoying.
Image: Angelo DeSantis/Flickr