AIRLINES: Reprieve from Chaos

For a while it looked as if it would be the worst Christmas ever for air travelers. Two major airlines—United and National, which together carry 28% of the nation's air traffic—were grounded by strikes, and their absence tipped the holiday-choked U.S. air-transport system into near chaos that meant frustrating delays and disappointments for thousands of air travelers. Suddenly, at week's end, there was hope that United and perhaps even National might be flying again by Christmas. Even so, strike-caused snarls were likely to plague travelers for a few more days.

The breakthrough in the 13-day-old United strike caught the industry...

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