Airport hires writer to chronicle travel tales - Heathrow Airport News

Airport news for Heathrow on 24/08/2009.

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A writer-in-residence has been hired by Heathrow airport’s operator for the purpose of capturing today’s travel experience in print, and for showing air passengers that there’s much more to the experience than just waiting in a series of long queues.

Alain de Botton, who is best known for his best-selling, scholarly works such as “The Consolations of Philosophy” and “How Proust Can Change Your Life”, has started his week inside the airport’s Terminal 5.

He began his time in residence on Tuesday of last week, and so far has spent some of his time at a desk in the Departures area, where he has observed travellers and interviewed both staff and passengers.

De Botton said that he has been given full access to the terminal by airport officials and is allowed to write whatever he pleases. Bosses at Heathrow have commented that they’re hoping readers will end up having a better idea of what goes on behind the scenes at the UK’s busiest airport.

He wrote in the Evening Standard: “My agent and I devised the cockroach test: in other words, I had to be allowed to discuss every last cockroach I might spot at the airport if that's what I felt like doing.”

According to de Botton, rather than a place that is seen as something to be endured, airports are fascinating environments encompassing larger global themes, such as consumerism, globalization and technology.

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