Our Holiday Travel Fiasco Revealed These 3 Inconvenient Truths

12,000 flight cancelations are only the tip of the fast-melting iceberg

Kerala Taylor

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Photo by oneclearvision via Canva.

I’m currently on hold with Alaska Airlines. It’s the second time I’ve called in the span of two weeks. The first time, I waited over three hours to talk to a representative. I’m expecting the hold time to be at least as long this time around.

I shouldn’t complain, really — it’s my husband who spent over 12 hours of his first and only weeklong vacation in 2022 either transporting himself to and from the airport, waiting in lines, or waiting on hold. None of these efforts bore any fruit, and instead of meeting up with his family and inlaws, he spent Christmas alone.

Of course, he wasn’t the only one whose travel plans were derailed by winter storms. U.S. airlines canceled over 12,000 flights between December 21 and 24, and everyone is pissed off. Passengers are pissed off, their families are pissed off, airline workers are pissed off, customer service reps are pissed off.

Merry fucking Christmas.

Like everyone else, I want my money back and then some. My first call to Alaska Airlines was to get reimbursed for my partner’s flights; now, I’m calling a different number to see about getting reimbursed for all the additional expenses we incurred during my husband’s two failed airport trips. The outraged American in me would also like to sue for emotional damages and demand that someone give us back the hours of precious PTO we’ve both lost while dealing with all this crap.

I know that my outrage is both unhelpful and disproportionate. Of all the ways that climate change has wrought havoc on our lives, and will almost certainly wreak havoc on our futures, this is a minuscule incident in the grand scheme of things.

Minuscule, yes, but still revealing. Perhaps I indulge my outrage because on the other side of it is fear and anxiety — both around the various ways we need to adapt our behaviors and the various ways we are grossly failing to adapt our behaviors. As news headlines hop from one climate-induced crisis to the next, we respond with indignation and disbelief, as though we haven’t yet grasped that climate chaos is the new “normal,” and that it will only…

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Kerala Taylor

Award-winning writer. Interrupting notions of what it means to be a mother, woman, worker, and wife. Subscribe: https://keralataylor.substack.com