Hey Andrew...Just spent three days getting to Seattle...brought only hand held (35mm+2 1/4) in carryon but no tripod...I was going to take tripod in checked bag.After four delays and subsequent cancellations we missed our connection but eventually got to O'hare after about six hours of waiting...My wife's bag came out onto the carousel as we walked up...mine not so much! After an hour of "the run around" I was about to give up when I was paged!!!!! & picked my bag at the "lost" counter...moral to the story...this time of year you are rolling the dice...good luck and have a great trip.
-Don