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Sweet: Security lines ok at O'Hare on Friday. How United Airlines manages delays. Pretty well, considering...with some ifs...

CHICAGO (O’Hare Airport, gate B5)–For holiday travellers–the ride from the Sun-Times at 350 N. Orleans to O’Hare took 40 minutes (leaving) at about 3:30 p.m……security only 15 minutes or less. I’m headed to Washington D.C. on a United flight.

United has a very good system for keeping a passenger informed of changes–that is, if you have a cell phone and a blackberry or a way of constantly checking your e-mail. And you need to be when you fly United, especially from O’Hare on a Friday.

Here’s the anatomy of the flight day so far:

Flight booked to leave at 7 p.m.

United calls and e-mails the 7 p.m. flight cancelled.

I call United and get rebooked on the 6 p.m. That’s the flight I wanted anyway, but it was more expensive, so I booked on the 7 p.m.

I get to the airport and get two calls –they are automated– and four e-mails that the 6 p.m. flight would leave–first at 7:28 p.m. then 7:45 p.m.

I see the 3 p.m. was delayed until about 5:30 p.m.

I go to the counter and get a seat on that flight. It’s 5:14 p.m. now and I am in seat 8B and will have to turn this off in a moment.

I was able to be flexible because I have a carry-on bag. The changes did not matter in the end to me –this time. If I was making connecting flights–I would be frazzled from either waiting or trying to deal with missed connections.