Many of us have been there: your life in pieces while you wait for a flight that has mysteriously been delayed. In a new profile of O’Hare International Airport — currently operated by the city’s Department of Aviation — Kathryn Engelbrecht reports that you could count on the human-trafficking arrest and the love-filled romance of two passengers as consolation for the long delay:
O’Hare was punctuated by slow-moving flights, crowded concourses and bumpy air. Fourteen baggage handlers were caught with concealed firearms. The airport had the nation’s highest rate of delayed flights. But it wasn’t the annual Black Friday traffic jams that was taking its toll on passengers. It was an internal flight mix-up. Just after midnight on Christmas Day, airplane workers removed a BFE charter flight in the emergency slide zone. The employees were detained and the flight, carrying a group of 22 Turkish businesspeople visiting the U.S., landed 45 minutes late. By coincidence, on the same night an elderly couple named Cindy and Russell Redfield were on the shuttle bus ride from the departure terminal to a security checkpoint, making their way through a troubled airport that was also plagued by cargo delays. The Redfields were from the Midwest; Cindy, 72, was an accountant at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. For 24 hours they spent in love, dancing in the terminal and in a security line. “It was nice to be able to be with someone you had gotten to know so well,” Cindy told me.
Read the rest at The Atlantic.