star-1Hey, Jeff! It’s me, Alexis at Gate C27, IAD (Washington’s Dulles Airport). I’ve been hoping you’d come by. For the second time today, my plane’s departure is delayed for more than an hour. I thought you’d show up at Hartford’s Bradley Airport earlier this morning to console all the people on my flight who missed their connections to Dulles, but you didn’t. We could have used that extra hour to talk about how you and your partners in the industry took a pretty darn good airline (United, that is/was) and merged it with a not-so-good one (Continental).

At first I shared the optimism of your “Welcome” videos when you appeared, trim and fit in your tailored suit, touting the advantages of the United-Continental merger. My enthusiasm began to wane after several months of your cameos when the reality didn’t measure up to the promise. I notice that now you don’t have as much screen time. Instead, the “Welcome” features smiling “merged” employees.

And speaking of employees…this morning when I checked in at Hartford, I didn’t recognize even one of the three employees at the counter.   Where did the others go? Did they retire? Or were they merged right out of their jobs? I missed the United staff whose service I appreciated over the past 20 years. However, by the time the clerk who helped me check in showed up at the gate to rebook all the frustrated passengers, I began to feel like I knew her. I’m surprised she didn’t have to grab a couple of light sticks and guide the delayed plane to the gate.

However, all (well, some) is not lost, Jeff. You have another chance to meet up with me. I’m easy to find, waiting at the Lost Luggage line in San Francisco.




About Alexis

Alexis Rankin Popik, author of Kiss Me Over the Garden Gate, is an award-winning short story writer whose work has appeared in The Berkshire Review and Potpourri Magazine. She has penned numerous articles about local history that have been published in Connecticut Explored and the University of Connecticut School of Law and The Hartford Seminary publications. A former union organizer, Popik traveled the country educating shipyard workers about health and safety and founded a labor-management health plan before turning to writing fiction full-time. She lives with her husband in New England.
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