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Tuesday AM February 23rd, 2010

A threatened strike by Lufthansa pilots will have disrupted travel on more than two dozen partners. A cabin crew strike at British Airways would further disrupt world travel. Ed Mayberry reports.


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air plane wingThe pilots union for Lufthansa agreed to suspend their walkout until March 9th and resume talks.  The number-two international carrier shares ticketing and routes for international travel with the 26-member Star Alliance, which includes United and Continental Airlines.  Tom Parsons with says customers traveling on affected Lufthansa-operated codeshare flights would be re-accommodated on the best next available schedule.

“Lufthansa can plate people on Continental, they can plate them on other different airlines.  You should be able to piggyback on Continental or on Delta or Air France or American.  It’s not uncommon for you to buy a ticket, and again, if they have to cancel flights, that they’ll rebook you on another carrier at no cost to you.”  

Airlines are already digging out of the worst one-year drop-off in flights.  Parsons says airlines have downsized their number of flights in the past couple of years.

“The biggest problem is these airlines—like Continental and American and Delta—have learned how to fill those planes maybe with cheap air fares, but they’re filling them up at the highest levels they’ve seen in years.  Even Southwest is making record load factors, so, and that’s another thing you might want to remember, too: just because there’s no planes leaving Houston—they’re all sold out—make sure you look at other gateways like Miami, or Washington D.C. or New York.  There are ways to get there.  I just think you may have to make one or two extra stops to get to your destination.”

The suspension of the strike ends what was to be a four-day walkout by 4,000 pilots that already upended travel for 10,000 people worldwide.

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