Coincidence?

I think not. My husband spent 100,000 miles to send me on a weekend trip, first class, to Park City, UT. The weather did not cooperate but we stayed in a lovely resort hotel and took a long drive and walked Main Street and ate at our favorite haunts. Then we hung out as after living there we’d seen all the monuments, as an old D.C. roommate had said. We weren’t under pressure to do anything in bad weather or if we just wanted to watch Netflix by one of our three fireplaces. Yeah, one bedroom, three fireplaces.

We only had two days, then he headed west and I, east for the week. From Chicago I was taking a short hop. There were no crews, so flights were delayed indeterminately. I was stuck in Chicago for three hours and changed flights because a blessed soul at the desk booked me another gate pass for another plane, nodding when I said I didn’t want to spend the night on the floor at the airport.

At that moment, Dr. Dau was physically taken out of his seat in favor of United Airlines personnel, because the plane had four passengers without a seat. I was in the airport.

I had no clue, got a boarding pass for the earlier flight that would be leaving way earlier than the later one because my original crew had never left Kentucky. The earlier 5:30 flight was delayed until 7:30 because of lack of crew.

At the new destination, we were so frustrated by the lack of information and no-one was even at the desk while we were there for hours. We had already planned a revolt because no-one would tell us anything. We had no idea of the United Airlines debacle. People had been there for hours and there were no crews. Then one showed up in uniform. Yea! We had originally wanted them to put us up for the night or charter transportation for the lot of us to Milwaukee and had a gang of eight.

Then another crew showed up in plain clothes, unbeknownst to most passengers, to take seats on our plane. I did not know the significance of this action until I showed up having changed my ticket hours ago with a new boarding pass with seat 17C. A woman was seated there. Yes, she was non-uniform crew for the next morning back to ORD.

I looked at my seat number, now knowing that paying travelers were being denied boarding for overbooking but nothing of the “big story” and just thought that as long as I was onboard, I wanted my seat. I looked at her, showed her my boarding pass and said nicely that I thought this was my seat. I only thought that she would go to the empty one by the window.

Her compatriots were in riotous laughter. All I asked for was my seat. She moved back with her friend but it was clear that they wanted space and got it and when I showed up, she was the butt of all their jokes. I felt bad that they were laughing so hard, and at her. She was angry with me so I gave her a frig magnet from Utah and all was forgiven.

Ending, I believe their policies are bad. No airline should place people who paid for a ticket and are in their seat in danger, especially to call in police to drag them out bloody to make room for their own personnel. Given a background in legislation and law and a lifetime of common sense, I think there was a “strike” of some sort by the unions after the videos went viral so there were no crews, no flights.

Unfortunately, it upset me because I was right there watching over a fellow passenger I’d never met before who’d already been at the airport three hours before our final two and was very ill. We have been in touch today, have common business interests and he is doing well. He calls me his “airport angel.” All I did was watch over him, and bring him some warm ginger ale to sip. They sat him in first class. It didn’t help that the jetway broke at our destination and we had to stay on the plane another hour for it to be fixed.

Passengers took care of each other. No-one, administration, unions, took care of us. We took the brunt of it that day. I had a wonderful vacation with my husband in the mountains. It took me many hours and travails to get home. I’d changed flights and knew my luggage would not be there. It was there, the last of four bags as they closed the carousel. My friend Joe was there to pick me up and dropped me home where I slept, then picked up my dog from great people who took care of her. There are bright lights. I saw them in the mountains. Snow-Kitties, my husband and our dog.

That’s how I’d like to remember the weekend. Sno-Cats grooming the mountain trails, sitting beside the fire. Gorgeous mountains, even one mortar went off for avalanche control. When we lived there they were my lullabies. Yes, it took a while to get used to the lights and sounds but they actually help to put me back to sleep. Back to normal life… if there is one. Dee

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