Fasten Your Seatbelts

A strike at American foreshadows union turmoil industry-wide

Don't tell Emmett Koen about the chaos theory of air travel. He and thousands of other flyers lived it last week when American Airlines flight attendants staged the largest U.S. airline strike in nearly five years, a walkout that threatened to paralyze the nation's largest airline and ruin many a traveler's Thanksgiving holiday.

While other angry passengers watched helplessly as ghost planes -- no flight attendants, no passengers, just baggage -- pulled away from the jammed gates at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, Koen fumed as he watched his $5,000 Hawaiian cruise slip away too. First his flight was delayed, then canceled....

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