Summary: November and December are terrible, terrible times to be traveling because everybody else in the world is traveling at the same time. My advice? Don't do it. Tell your family you won't be home for the holidays and just save yourself the aggrivation. Anyway... I worked all through the night, and was able to complete my job in Wisconsin this morning (two full days early). Since I have butt-loads of work and a mounting personal emergency back home, I decided to fly back early so I can get my life straightened out.
Alas it's not to be.
Or maybe it is, I don't know yet.
I flew Alaska/United to Milwaukee but, since all flights for the next four days are booked solid on the Chicago-Seattle leg, I can't fly Alaska back. No problem, I have pretty big clout with Northwest, so I manage to get a ticket (even though their flights are sold out too - being a good customer has its privileges). And here's where it gets interesting: it's cheaper to buy a round-trip than a one-way fare to Seattle. So now I have an unused half of my original ticket from Milwaukee to Wenatchee, and am going to have an unused half of my current flight from Seattle to Milwaukee. Something tells me I can smoosh all that together and get a round-trip ticket out of the deal but, since four different airlines are involved now (Alaska, United, Horizon, and Alaska), it's anybody's guess as to whether or not this will ever work out.
So now I am stuck in Minneapolis because the flight I was on is overbooked by full-fare paying customers or something. It looks like I can get a later flight but, knowing my luck, I'm not holding my breath.
UPDATE: Not only do I still not know if I am making this flight, but now they are announcing a delay so they can change the tires on the airplane! (because heaven only knows you don't want the tires going flat when you drop on the runway). For some reason, I always thought they did stuff like this during routine maintenance schedules. I guess I thought wrong. Apparently, they must instead be sticking a penny in the tread after each landing (when you can see Lincoln's entire head, it's time for a new set!). Wacky!