My Nov. 4 had begun with the sadness that the much COVID-delayed time with my sons Chad and Grant was ending with my arrival at the Philadelphia airport at noon for my 2:45 flight to the Dallas/Ft. Worth airport and then an hour later a flight to Santa Barbara.
Yet at 11 p.m., I was “No.144” in a line that was rapidly expanding to over 200 at Gate D-24 at the DFW airport. What the heck had happened?
On Nov. 4 at 8 a.m., my American Airlines flight was on time. At the gate, I learned it was delayed to 4:15 p.m., which I later learned was due to a thunderstorm shutting the always busy Dallas/Ft. Worth airport with 290 daily flights carrying 150,000 passengers, for an hour and a half.
At my gate at the Philadelphia airport, a line longer than could be handled by the lone gate agent immediately formed. I was the only person to walk to customer service in the next terminal to plan for an alternative in case we did not make our DFW connection, and obtained the last seat on the next flight to Santa Barbara that left at noon the next day.
Why were so few agents available?
It appears that the airlines were fighting the effects of the COVID “war,” where “war” is defined as a state of “hostility, conflict or antagonism,” since COVID has caused almost twice the number of deaths as World War II — 819,167 to 420,000. How did this happen?
Members of the Obama-Biden team set it in motion a decade ago when they approved Dr. Anthony Fauci’s funding research at the Chinese lab on how to change the “function” of a very rare bat virus so that it could be used as a weapon in a “war” against humanity since humans have no natural immunity.
President Donald Trump relied upon Dr. Deborah Brix, who later bragged she lied to him, and Dr. Fauci, who later admitted that the masks were never effective, to issue an order, in May 2020, that required employees to wear masks. He also created the best “defense” against the COVID-19 invasion through his program that created vaccines.
President Joe Biden’s executive orders empowered his nominees running the federal agencies to “invade” the airlines.
His first order required employees to wear masks. It was leveraged by the agencies, including the Federal Aviation Administration, as part of the Department of Transportation headed by Pete Buttigieg; TSA, as part of Homeland Security headed by Alejandro Mayorkas; the CDC, despite not running its own testing, as part of the Department of Health and Human Services headed by Xavier Becerra; and the OFCCP as part of the Department of Labor headed by Martin J, Walsh. The agencies used the strings of federal funds to issue regulations. It was not until April 2022 that TSA no longer required the wearing of masks.
President Biden’s executive order requiring companies with more than 100 employees to ensure their workers were vaccinated caused all the above regulatory agencies to enforce these requirements.
In response, American Airlines CEO Doug Parker said, “Employees who cannot be vaccinated due to disability or religious beliefs can request a waiver” although the government would not grant any. Employees who were not vaccinated had their lives disrupted by losing their jobs, and airlines lost trained employees.
Except in states run by Republicans, such as Florida and Texas, states requiring businesses to close caused an airline executive to say “There is no place for travelers to fly to” as the airlines struggled to avoid what would be, in essence, government-forced bankruptcies.
I felt for the executives and employment counsels at American Airlines, a position I almost took at Continental Airlines, for having to deal with their decline in employees from 133,700, in 2019, to 123,400 today. Hiring and training 10,300 will be expensive in time and money.
At the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, the departure for Santa Barbara kept getting delayed until finally, around 11 p.m., the flight’s cancellation sent all of us to customer service.
And that’s how I became No. 144 in the line at Gate D-24.
Standing in a line that was inching forward one flooring tile every 10 minutes, I realized I could not stand much longer. I considered spending the night in a chair in an Admirals Club, but it was closing. Since I had the last ticket for the next flight, which was not until noon tomorrow, with the only other one not leaving until 6:51 p.m., I’d better do something before everyone in my line realized that the thunderstorm that closed the airport was an “act of God” — meaning each of us would be scrambling to find a room.
The other “line-waiters” had their thumbs working on their smartphones, greatly exceeding the capacity of my thumbs, which were restricted by the beginnings of arthritis and the fact that my thumbs were bigger than the letters on my screen. In any case, none of these folks were having any success. The guy standing next to me reminded me of John Candy in the 1987 movie “Trains, Planes and Automobiles,” with Steve Martin, as he desperately made plans to fly to Phoenix tomorrow and drive overnight to Santa Barbara.
I resorted to doing something many senior men will relate to. I called my wife, Carol, in Santa Barbara and asked her to set her laptop keys humming. She found the last room at a Super 8.
At midnight, I sat on my bed and reflected that the COVID “war” set in motion by Obama-Biden-Fauci team — and exacerbated by federal and some states regulations — will linger for airlines much as they did for so many after World War II.
Brent E. Zepke is an attorney, arbitrator and author who lives in Santa Barbara. His website is OneheartTwoLivescom.wordpress.com. Formerly, he taught law and business at six universities and numerous professional conferences. He is the author of six books: “One Heart-Two Lives,” “Legal Guide to Human Resources,” “Business Statistics,” “Labor Law,” “Products and the Consumer” and “Law for Non-Lawyers.”