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Traveler's Aid: The United Airlines vs. Mechanics Smackdown! (2/15/2002)

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Since Sept. 11th, we've spent a lot of time talking about airline and airport security. But before that, the stories dominating travel headlines were airline labor disputes. Seems like every time you picked up the newspaper, mechanics, pilots or flight attendants were locked in a bitter contract battle with an airline's management. And even though we've been distracted by other matters, the labor problems haven't gone away -- as is demonstrated by the current wrestling match between United Airlines and its mechanics.

Last Tuesday, United mechanics voted to reject a contract settlement proposed by a White House panel. That means they could go on strike as early as next week. Keep in mind that United is the world's second largest carrier, and all of its planes could be grounded. That's a lot of parked planes. Will it happen? What should you do if you have a flight booked on United? And why do airlines seem to suffer from endless labor problems? Travel Expert in Residence Rudy Maxa helps us sort it out, with a little help from Steve Lott, business editor at Aviation Daily.


If you'd like us to address your travel questions or concerns, send us an email. Or, you can snail-mail them in. The address is The Savvy Traveler, in care of the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California 90007. Or call us at 888-SAV-TRAV.

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