When I arrived at Charlotte International Airport two hours in advance to catch my 13:05 flight to Philadelphia, I quickly noticed something had gone wrong for quite some time. Hundreds of people were forming long queues to the US Airways check ins. The advancement speed looked rather poor and the end was not in sight. So I did the inevitable and ligned at the queue for International Check In. At this time I expected my flight to be delayed, but it turned out later it was not. Anyways, there was no strategy visible in dealing with the problem. So more people like me were coming, missing flights, and needing time-consuming rebooking.
Just when we came closer to the end of the line, advancement speed decreased, since there were only like two agents doing rebooking. It was around 8 PM, when the computers crashed and somebody told us to go find a hotel and come back next morning. We (I talked to two women who were standing there just like me) decided not to give up our promising spot at the head of the line and spent the night at the airport. This turned out to be a good decision, as already around 5 AM a long line was forming from people arriving. So we finally all got our flights rescheduled and this whole thing turned into something like a happy end.
Scenes of frustration occurred when people tried to get in front of others (one time even a police officer was called who sent someone back to the end of the line) and when one of the agents left, reducing the number to just one. But overall people sticked together and I realized how well a shared problem can unify people. So we formed small groups who would look for eachother’s bags while going to the restrooms or sharing food and water.