Archidephoto/Shutterstock

Archidephoto/Shutterstock

You’ll never believe it, but I’ve managed to sift through all of the June and July emails this weekend. And I haven’t thrown my laptop out the window yet.

The Readers Digest version so far: Since January, 10,000 emails have been stuck in a digital limbo. It’s a mother lode of messages – everything from requests for help from consumers to hate mail.

I’ve already reviewed the September messages and the August emails. I’m happy to report that I’m down to about 3,000 messages, after weeding out the autoresponders and spam press releases.

The most embarrassing email? That would be the one from my sister in Phoenix with pictures of my newborn niece. I’m so sorry I missed that one, Aimee. And a very belated thanks for sending snapshots of the new baby. She’s a cutie.

One email exchange left me reaching for the tissues. It came from a woman who had contacted me this summer, asking for help with a refund on a ticket after her cancer had returned. I emailed her back to apologize for the delay. A few hours later, I received an response from someone someone who identified herself as a close friend.

Too late, he said. She had passed away.

It just doesn’t get any worse than that.

But there’s also reason to be optimistic. At least half a dozen cases that I couldn’t immediately respond to had already been resolved through the normal customer-service channels by the time I got to them. And these weren’t minor conflicts. They involved sizable refunds and above-and-beyond fixes.

It just goes to show that sometimes, the system works.

I have to stress the “sometimes.” I see many more cases that went absolutely nowhere in my absence, and I will get to all of them in the next few days. And of course, I’ll be making even more apologies as I shuffle through the mailbox.

I guess now I know what it feels like to run an airline.