Dear traveler,

The windows are opening and the air-con has finally earned a good long rest for the long, chilly winter that will warrant the occasional sweater. And with the change of season it is now time to reflect upon the True Meaning of Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is not a time to give thanks.

Thanksgiving is a time to get bumped.

Nothing is ever easy for the airlines. While people rush to fill seats like never before, the airlines are not yet basking in the glow of big fat profits. What the economy giveth, fuel prices taketh away, and so we wait, patiently and eternally, for the glory days of air travel to resume. And this year brings yet a new fear: the fear of quart sized baggies overflowing with liquids, creams, gels, and goos of all kinds, gumming up the security checks and grinding down the patience of travelers and airline employees everywhere. No, it will not be a beautiful travel dance this year, since all beauty must fit inside teeny 3 ounce bottles, or be checked away to airline bag heaven (known by many as "Philly").

But for the dedicated bumpee, there is a great silver lining to this story. Big fat profits mean nothing--and more people filling fewer seats means everything. Bumping is up! Freebies flow forth furiously! All hopes are pinned on a banner year for the devotee of the bump. While dark spots persist--the little, er, not so little airline from New York still clings to its quaint vision of one person, one seat; the desert laborers toil on to bounce the phantom bookers--the trend is hopeful. For those at Indy have been punished for their ancient ways; they are now a mere bump in the airline history books, to be judged harshly for their myopic vision.

As for me, I am poorly qualified to lead the way for this joyous season with so much potential. I will try my hand on Black Sunday, with a perfectly jam packed midday flight home. But I am no role model, for I am flying out on Thanksgiving Day, wimping out on the great potential of Black Wednesday. And I am not flying on the airline with the big eyes, eating bigger and bigger airlines at every meal. I may well be be punished with empty hands and a deep sadness once the airport din subsides. But there is always next year, and with any luck, the liquids, creams, gels, and goos spilled over this momentous holiday will have finally been cleaned up by then.

With hopes for blisters on our fingers from signing so many vouchers,