Chicago It’s always a challenge to fly after a holiday, particularly Thanksgiving Sunday, often the busiest travel day of the year. Families, business people, you name it are all trying to get back from the holidays, fat and happy, and then they have to fly through Chicago’s O’Hare airport, long one of the most trafficked in the USA and the world. God laughs at the plans of people!
In some ways, I’m in awe of modern communications. When a plane is delayed, I get a text on my phone. Sometimes, it’s not timely, but still it’s a minor tech miracle as a flight schedule makes it to the website and then triggers emails or texts to countless passengers, tens of thousands of times per day. Make that hundreds of thousands on a holiday end flight trip.
Of course, it’s not always accurate, but that might be too much to ask. At 9pm the night before I was on the phone and website, and was assured that the flight was magically and amazingly on time to leave at 655am. We boarded – the first time – about what and what to 8am. Right ahead of me in line were several flight attendants on a “seven day” off, as one described it. He asked his comrades, if they had gotten a text from the company, telling them they were now at work. No, they said. And, by the expressions on their faces, it was not just no, but no way. Eat that text. You were already on the ramp, that’s almost to home base and in your seat on the plane. But, no, an airline gate agent was also walking down the ramp calling out his name saying headquarters wanted him to go to work. I was just a bumper sticker on this truck.
When he got to the door of the plane it turned out he had to switch with an attendant on the plane who they were sending over to work another flight. He was asked whether he had his uniform and to start changing. An hour later when we boarded the flight, there he was, running the whole shebang. They’ve got a union, and a strong one, but weather trumps and even though we were three hours late, they could find him to go to work.
Meanwhile, I’m calling home for help from my companera to see if I can get a car, if I can get to Chicago and then drive to Madison. She pulls a rabbit out of the hat, so despite all of the airline’s messages saying I had to book for tomorrow and get to Madison at 6pm a day later, I was in the air.
I hit the ground in Chicago, and I find a text from the airline saying my 220 pm flight to Madison was now delayed and it would get out at 3pm. What?
Maybe I’ll catch up with my bags? Maybe I’ll make the meeting tonight?
Mother Nature kicked this airport in the butt one more time, but the computers are still trying to catch up and run the world.