You said: “We’re going to spend this Christmas outside of New York. We can’t stand it any longer. We need a change of scenery. We are in danger of falling into depression. The situation at our children’s school is bad. Children no longer smile like they used to. The coronavirus has crushed us. We have to go somewhere, despite the fact that our finances are not great.”
So you made the big decision. At first you thought of going to Greece, but you reconsidered. You wanted to be together as a family. To talk. To get out the things that are bothering you. To play, laugh. So you decided to go to one of the Caribbean islands. To lie down on a beach. To swim. Away from the world and the coronavirus.
You contacted your Greek-American travel agency and bought your tickets. You looked forward to the big moment of departure. Your flight was scheduled for 5AM from Kennedy Airport.
You did not sleep much. You wanted to be on time at the airport. To arrive there at least two hours in advance, as requested by the airlines. The roads were empty. You arrived at the airport at 2:30 in the morning. Your flight had not yet been posted on the flight screen. Nor was there any employee around to serve you. You found it normal.
“It’s early,” you thought.
You looked for a store to buy something for the children to eat, and a cup of coffee for you and your wife. But these are still closed. That also makes sense, you said.
Time drags on. The children are drowsy. To comfort them you tell them to be patient and they will have time to sleep both on the plane and at your destination. The weather app on your cell phone shows that the temperature on the island you are going to will reach 80 degrees.
Meanwhile, the line for your flight is growing. The same thing is happening with the next flight. And beyond, and beyond. The large airport hall is now suffocatingly full of people and their luggage.
It is almost 4AM. People are starting to get upset. But when will company employees finally show up? Will they be able to serve so many passengers so the flight can leave on time?
Suddenly angry voices are heard from the next line – as soon as the information was posted on the screen that their flight was canceled. And there is no information, nor is there any employee to inform them when they will be able to travel.
You feel bad for them, but there is nothing you can do about it. At the very least, you think with relief, your own flight will happen.
Suddenly new voices are heard from a little further away. Another flight has been canceled. And then another.
You still believe that yours has not been canceled. Yours will happen.
But then you notice that the children’s faces are very sad. “They must be tired,” you want to believe.
“Our flight was canceled,” the children say and start to cry.
This story is not from my personal experience, but it is a story that in some form I am sure was experienced by hundreds of thousands of passengers on Christmas day.
Last Sunday, 2000 flights were canceled in America. On Tuesday, 1200 more were canceled – due to bad weather in one part of the country, and Omicron, which has made many airline employees sick.
And something similar is expected to happen on New Year’s Eve.
Now how will you get to your destination? How much do the airlines really care, which – remarkably – have taken tens of billions from the federal government – that is, from the People. Try calling and see how long you will wait…
The situation with airlines is getting impossible. The service is usually awful. The seats are glued one behind the other. Their food, if they offer any, is inedible. They allow one or at most two pieces of luggage and for the extras they charge whatever they want.
And not only in the current situation, but quite often, they cancel flights, without even bothering many times to inform their passengers in time so that they at least don’t waste time and effort going to the airport.
Something must finally be done.