They’re sorry.

You cannot imagine how many times I heard or read “We’re sorry,” “I apologize.” This is only a small sampling of the text messages I received.

My flight to Berlin was canceled sometime after midnight and I joined the hoard of zombies moving inches at a time toward the 3 person United desk. I stood in that line for 4 hours in an attempt to retrieve my luggage (Not to rebook, I already knew there were no flights to Berlin for days) only to be told that there was nothing they could do. Thousands of pieces of luggage from canceled, and now arriving, flights were stuck in airplanes on the tarmac.

I took this picture as I walked away in defeat at 4 am. This line extended all the way around and through the airport baggage claim area to wait for the flight to Milwaukee that my sainted husband booked for me while I struggled with my mental health in the queue. I went to my gate to await the 8:30 flight back home. And then this started . . .

This is a lie. No one helps. No one answers.

I am back in Milwaukee sans luggage. I have filed a request for the return of the luggage. The response, for which I have to wait 72 (!!!) hours will only tell me that they have received my request. So, no Germany for now.

As I had many hours to reflect on the various mysteries of life, as well as observe the fashion choices of people traveling in single digit weather (do you have any idea how many people wear shorts in this weather?!?) I have come to realize that the monolithic airline industry has us totally over a barrel. Whereas you must commit to your flight or risk losing your money, they can delay and cancel with impunity. They used weather as an excuse. It was only cold in Newark. There was no snow. Cold? It is winter! We are in the north! We knew this was coming!! It always does.

I have to go and take some deep breaths.

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