A New York Times
Notable Book
The Sunday Times
A Best Book of the Year
The Economist
A Favorite Book
The Wall Street Journal
Book of the Week
BBC Radio 4
Book of the Week
The Guardian
A Favorite Book of the Year
A Recommended Book
TED Talks

A superb chronicle...Vanhoenacker makes jet travel seem uncanny and intriguing all over again…[he] writes in a richly ethereal style, with the confidence of a professional who knows his subject…an elegant, nonlinear reflection on how flying in a commercial airliner - even while painfully folded in a seat in coach - can lift the soul.
— Tom Zoellner, The New York Times Book Review
An exceptionally lucid and philosophically minded writer. He has spent the past several years taking notes about his life in the air and meditating on both the ethereal beauties and contradictions of flight...He reminds me of a brainy college physics major who actually wants to be a poet.
— Rinker Buck, The Wall Street Journal
The mind of a scientist and the heart of a poet
— Sarah Larson, The New Yorker
Vanhoenacker...can put one in mind of Henry James...a big-hearted book... marvelously literate...nearly always appealing…[he] is a talented writer, and we greet him at the start of what I hope is a career of writing about life in the heavens.
— Dwight Garner, The New York Times
Mr Vanhoenacker, fortunately for his readers, has lost none of his sense of wonder at the miracle of flight itself... a beautifully observed collection of details, scenes, emotions and facts from the world above the world.
The Economist
Vanhoenacker is a 747 pilot with a poetic streak...the writing makes flying feel as amazing at it really is.
— Alex Davies, Wired
A beautiful piece of writing
— Will Self, Esquire
Both a manual for infrequent flyers (wherein the physics and metaphysics of time and space are for once essayed in a perfectly straightforward manner) and a skilful meditation on the glories of traversing the earth at the helm of mankind’s greatest technological achievement that - yes - flies from the page.
— Bill Prince, GQ
A highly informative book about how the world looks from the cockpit of a modern jetliner, but it also is a truly beautiful book about possibilities and limits, connections and separations, surprises and habituations, and other long-standing themes of literature.
— James Fallows, The Atlantic
Poetic, scientific, geographic, and sometimes literary explorations of the experience of flight...and the ethereal realms above mountains, seas, and cities, where traditional maps and boundaries are replaced by markers, lights, and names known only to pilots and their earthbound guides. Those disillusioned by the mundane world of air travel in the 21st century may rediscover their lost sense of wonder in the pages of this book.
— Necee Regis, The Boston Globe
Vanhoenacker is a pilot, but he could well be a philosopher poet... Marked by a lyric grace, his leisurely paced tale unfolds in lazy pinwheels of topics...lulling with its smoothness yet awakening the sensibilities with beautiful prose and startling ruminations about the process and effects of flight.
— Neal Wyatt, Library Journal
Mark Vanhoenacker is a rare breed: a pilot who can write. In the spirit of Pico Iyer and Alain de Botton and other poets of the sky, Vanhoenacker’s words rekindle the majesty, the romance, of air travel.
— June Sawyers, Chicago Tribune
Gorgeous and captivating... Skyfaring artfully demystifies the fascinating technical aspects of commercial flight while delivering poetic insights straight from the cockpit.
— John Wilwol, San Francisco Chronicle
Amazingly poetic
— Kai Ryssdal, Marketplace
Vanhoenacker conveys that sense of freedom, wanderlust and traversing a large world made small by travel...packed with eloquent insight into a high-flying world
Publishers Weekly
The author artfully considers geography and aerodynamics, but there is more. He reflects aloft what earthbound readers seldom think about, and his engaging essays consider the texture and weight of air and clouds and the essence of speed, place, night, day, and time... This pilot is an accomplished stylistic acrobat who flies - and writes - with the greatest of ease.
Kirkus (Starred Review)
[An] ode to the wonder of flight in the tradition of the great pioneer pilot-author Antoine de Saint Exupéry and Charles Lindbergh... flying remains a magical business, Vanhoenacker makes clear... a riveting practitioner’s account of a human achievement that has been rendered humdrum by its own success.
— Charles Bremner, The Times (UK)
His abiding attachment [to flying] is likely to make this masterly, beautifully written book one of aviation’s ­classic texts – Saint-Exupéry seventy years on, and with more to say.
— Alexander Frater, The Times Literary Supplement (UK)
Not since Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s classic Vol de Nuit, which described his experiences as an airmail pilot and director of an Argentinian airline, has there been such a fantastic book about flying as Mark Vanhoenacker’s Skyfaring... what marks this book out is its author’s ability to bring a genuine poetic sensibility to the experience of flying and the feelings of strangeness and beauty that it engenders... I found myself turning over the corners of almost every page with excitement and admiration.
— Giles Foden, Condé Nast Traveller
Engaging, even poetic...Vanhoenacker’s passionate and beautifully written book will remind even the most jaded traveller of the wonder of flight.
— Ian Critchley, The Sunday Times (UK)
Skyfaring is a beautiful, revelatory work of observation, thought, and expression. The experience of traveling through the air, which would have seemed miraculous in any previous moment of human existence, has been drained of its wonder through the drear of the modern airline experience. From his seat in the front of the airplane, Mark Vanhoenacker captures and conveys the magic of seeing the world from above.
— James Fallows
Skyfaring is a love letter to flight, to a profession, and reading it was a balm. Vanhoenacker slips easily between poetic meditation into the nature of travel and technical explanations of the mechanisms of the 747, and I found all of it fascinating…
— Emily St John Mandel
Mark Vanhoenacker is the thinking man’s pilot, and his is a rare and refreshing perspective in an age when commercial flying is taken almost entirely for granted. Through prose as passionate and erudite as it is informative, he describes not merely the mechanical workings of flight, but will rekindle, in those who care to listen, a lost appreciation for the marvel of global air travel.
— Patrick Smith, author of Cockpit Confidential
Poets are pilots of a kind, teaching us to navigate the world anew; Mark Vanhoenacker is a pilot with the spirit, the wide-open eyes, the rare feel for beauty and discovery of an accomplished poet. Imagine Henry David Thoreau reflecting on the wonders of the lights of Oman as seen from the cockpit of a 747, and you begin to have something of the fresh magic of this exceptional debut. This is a work for anyone who longs to learn how to see again, and to live.
— Pico Iyer
A longhaul airline pilot whose vision is unexpectedly poetic and romantic... what stood out for me was that sense of wonder up there... a rather lovely book.
— Libby Purves, Midweek on BBC Radio 4
A poet of the skies to rival St Exupéry...an author of real distinction with a genuinely poetic sensibility as well as a memorable turn of phrase...a perfect voice for a glorious subject... This really is a very good book.
— Stephen Bayley, The Spectator
It is reassuring, now more than ever, to be reminded that even for experienced pilots air travel can still be an exhilarating, almost magical experience.
— Brian Viner, The Daily Mail
What a great idea this is...a masterpiece of time, distance, palm trees, frosty mornings, lofty ambition and self-effacing charm
Although he’s contributed to the New York Times and Slate, this is his first book — and it’s a beauty. For so many flying has become humdrum: a bus journey to be endured then forgotten, not enjoyed and recalled. Vanhoenacker makes it wondrous again.
— David Sexton, London Evening Standard
Vanhoenacker, who seems to have the observational qualities of an intergalactic probe, also has the eye of a poet
— Jeffery Taylor, Sunday Express
One of the most constantly fascinating, but consistently under-appreciated aspects of modern life is the business of flying. Mark Vanhoenacker has written the ideal book on the subject: a description of what it’s like to fly by a commercial pilot who is also a master prose stylist and a deeply sensitive human being, familiar with great art and literature and always willing to tease out the psychologically resonant implications of his job. This is a man who is at once a technical expert (he flies 747s and Airbuses across continents) and a poet of the skies. This couldn’t be more highly recommended.
— Alain de Botton
Endlessly surprising, strikingly original...Vanhoenacker combines intelligence and sensitivity
Intelligent Life
Mark Vanhoenacker’s Skyfaring reminds us of the magic of aviation...fluid and elegant...full of information that is wonderful in its simplicity... Flying planes isn’t just his job: it remains his passion.
— Erica Wagner, New Statesman
Wonderfully evocative and clear-eyed...fascinating
The Scotsman
This extraordinary book…part autobiography, part travelogue, part prose poem…provides a powerful antidote to the conventional belief that the romance of of flight has been lost in the modern age
Literary Review
A great read for absolutely everyone with an interest in flying...a beautiful odyssey of observation...if you believe that airline flying has become a monotonous, humdrum experience, the victim of its own success perhaps, then reading this book will take you to a fresh and thoughtful appreciation of the magic and excitement of flight
Pilot Magazine (UK)
This airborne odyssey in his company is enthralling, from the physics of lift and the vicissitudes of flight paths, to St Elmo’s Fire, the Aurora Borealis, pristine sunsets, and the fellow pilots he passes like ships in the night sky. Read it, and you’ll find yourself requesting a window seat every time you fly.
The Bookseller