Greetings all,

A most joyous time soon approaches. As we prepare for the season of holidays, it is appropriate to reflect upon the True Meaning of Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is not a time to give thanks.

Thanksgiving is a time to get bumped.

There is much to be thankful for this year. After so many challenges and traumas in our world, a semblance of recovery and order is peeking through. A better outlook for travel makes everyone happy: people and businesses are more comfortable traveling, and airlines and travel services are nurturing their way to health. This virtuous cycle particularly blesses those who seek the riches of the bump. As travel demand picks up, more flights reach the nirvana of complete overbooking, paving the way for a sustained series of glorious rewards for the taking. For those who can clear the days around this great holiday and let all know that they are not to be expected until late or later, the dreams are boundless: snaking gate lines ensuring a wealth of bumpers seeking bumpees, airline employees crying out and begging for more volunteers, fantastic deals of rapid rebooking onto further overstuffed flights, vouchers falling from the sky and tumbling out of podiums.

But away from dreamland, there are challenges for the determined. The increased crowds may clog the travelways. This may mean little to those dedicated to trading hours for dollars at the airport, but it can reduce the number of flights one can be rebooked on in order to gain repeat riches. The larger challenge is the relentless march of technology: airlines analyze and know more and more who will show up and who won't. The crafty desert oracle of firm flight bookings squashes booking lids even more. The cool new blue airline blasphemously dares to swear off all overbooking. All this adds to the challenge, and makes the first mover "run to the gate" advantage all the more critical. But perseverance must pay off: while not every airplane can deliver the goodies, some must yield to statistics and be ready to give.

I am awakening from my recent sloth of nonstop flights and single minded purpose of arrival. This year I travel on Black Wednesday and then seek the adventure of the following Monday on the back of increased opportunities--a connecting flight. It's a new day and a new airline for me--Continental is my chosen dispenser. Have they learned something useful from their recently divorced America West, the oversale kingpins of legend? Can Houston resemble the ideal Hub of Riches, Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport? Do they know how to make me truly happy? Let the halls ring with the cry for the chosen, the volunteers; for I shall surely snap to attention.

Peace and profit,

..robert