When I boarded the airport ferry at 4:15 on Thursday evening to go back home for Christmas, I had been expecting complications.

My itinerary was to fly from Ketchikan to Seattle to Chicago to Minneapolis during a 12-hour window at the same time that a massive storm cell was churning across the Midwest. I knew it was unlikely that I would arrive without a hitch, and so planned for the worst, setting my expectations low and bringing plenty of material to help pass the time.