Dear traveler,

It has been a wild ride these days in so many ways, and we are all well due for a moment of reflection upon the True Meaning of Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is not a time to give thanks.

Thanksgiving is a time to get bumped.

Little is sedate lately in the world of airline travel. First we had the relentless oil price rise which ended some long storied airlines and threatened to ground more and more of us. Then there was the fast and furious fee float, with frequent fees to pay fees and one lone fee free fleet. Then came the dizzying drop in most everything, taking oil prices down with it. Now, we tired and cranky fliers anxiously wait to see where all this uncertainty is headed--up, or down? Big changes, or small?

We have never needed Thanksgiving more than we do now. For while there is so much uncertainty in everything around us, one principle remains crystal clear: a mass migration is solidly strapped to the Thanksgiving calendar, and great opportunities flow forth for those who keep the faith. This year, the migration may be a touch less mass--our wallets are slimmer, and some will succumb to the heretical idea of just staying home. But the airlines have more than made up for this by trimming their flights. Fewer flights and smaller planes point to a smoother yet more packed Thanksgiving; this is a perfect recipe for bump prizes to start leaking, then flowing, and then gushing from gate podiums.

I continue my sad little slide into Thanksgiving mediocrity. Two mere nonstop flights means that I have squandered my chance to regain some Thanksgiving glory. For lately I have scored only at less predictable times of year--New Years, Spring Break, and the like. I suppose I can hope for a little LUV voucher, but deep down I know that the better bumps go to those who squeeze the most hops into their Thanksgiving travels. And the very best bumps go to those who sweep through the US Airways Hub of Riches at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. For at US Airways, the memories are short: those who watch the dollars flow in quickly forget the riches that gush right back out into the arms of those lying in wait. For the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is an illusion; but the stacks of vouchers that line every terminal are real, and they eagerly await your taking.

May your Thanksgiving be the most bountiful yet,

..robert