Airlines: Caught at the Crest

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As the biggest strike in U.S. airline history dragged through its first full week, disruptive effects large and small spread across the entire U.S. economy and throughout the everyday life of Americans. Thousands of vacationers canceled travel plans. Hotel bookings dropped sharply in such varied cities as Pittsburgh, Las Vegas and Honolulu. Miami Beach hotels, heavily dependent on package air tours for summer trade, laid off employees as occupancy rates shrank as much as 25% below normal.

Cut flowers wilted far from florist shops; live lobsters piled up awaiting shipment from...

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