United ticket holders queue for seats on other airlines. Strike means long lines, roundabout routes, crowded airplanes

By , Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

The nation's air travelers are coping because they must. For many the major drop in daily flights caused by a pilot strike against the nation's largest airline has meant long delays, often circuitous routes to a destination, and decidedly more-crowded planes.

Most major airlines quickly vowed to honor United Airlines tickets on a space-available basis. But space -- particularly for discount-ticket holders who are now the large majority -- has often been scarce, even on a standby basis.

Passengers at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport have had a particularly tough time. United flights there traditionally account for 40 percent of total airport operations.

Recommended: How safe is flying? Take the aviation safety quiz

Many United ticketholders like Dan and Betty White of Onargo, Ill., spent the better part of the strike's second day at O'Hare moving from gate to gate of various airlines, in hopes of getting standby seats to Seattle to see their new grandchild.

Mr. and Mrs. Steven Finch and their three children also spent most of that day trying to get from Portland, Ore. to Albany, N.Y., on a standby basis in time for a brother's West Point graduation and same-day wedding.

``There's been an awful lot of waiting around -- and it's hard with little kids,'' said Mr. Finch during a long layover in Chicago where he had tried in vain to track down the family luggage.

By Sunday passenger lines at O'Hare were shorter and United was running 14 percent of its daily national roster of flights (up from 11 percent the first day of the strike).

Flying the planes are what United terms ``several hundred'' regular management and newly hired pilots who have crossed the picket lines.

All airlines, including United, were ready for the crisis with added personnel both at airports and in reservation offices. Even lines with few routes directly paralleling those of United reported some impact. ``Our loads were already high on our flights from Atlanta to Honolulu, but now they're running with no empty seats at all,'' says Delta Airline spokesman Jim Ewing. ``Lots of travel agents and passengers are becoming very artistic with their itinerary designs.''

Though a number of charter airlines and smaller carriers such as Midway Airlines quickly added new flights to meet the demand, most major airlines say they will stick to summer schedules announced in April. ``We think it would be inappropriate to disrupt our own schedules to accommodate United traffic, and we have no real plans to operate large numbers of extra flights,'' says American Airlines spokesman Al Becker.

Though a few airlines expect delivery of new planes over the summer, most of these are already committed, and carriers insist there are no more extra planes ``in the hanger'' as passengers often suggest. ``We run the airplanes as much as we can right now -- any sitting around would be losing money,'' says Trans World Airlines spokesman Dave Venz.

United's competitors also say more planes and more flights, even if possible, should not be necessary. The many ``no show'' passengers who make reservations but fail to claim them are part of the reason. ``The industry more than has the capacity to absorb the traffic,'' says American Airlines spokesman Becker who notes his company's 65 percent load factor means that on average 35 percent of its seats fly empty.

Still, no airline feels it can afford to bump potential full-fare passengers for discount-ticket holders. More-popular flights usually have a more limited number of discount seats.

``For an airline doing a good job with that kind of capacity control, it really upsets the apple cart to suddenly have a flood of some other airline's discount fares come in on them,'' notes Lee Howard, vice-president of Airline Economics Inc.

Striking pilots say the traveling public has been largely supportive. ``In two days of picketing I've only had two derogatory comments,'' says one United pilot walking the halls of O'Hare with a ``We are united'' button on his uniform collar. ``A lot ask for these buttons.''

Though there have been some questions -- particularly raised by striking pilots and Ralph Nader's Aviation Consumer Action Project -- about the quality and training of United Airlines' replacements for striking pilots, the Federal Aviation Administration says there is no cause for concern.

``United came to us and asked for some modifications, but we declined,'' says FAA spokesman Dennis Feldman, who notes that the number of federal inspectors monitoring United operations has recently been doubled. ``We absolutely will not tolerate any deviation from federal air requirements.''

Share this story:

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

eZ debug

Clear cache:

Quick settings:

Timing: Jul 09 2014 05:59:46
Script start
Timing: Jul 09 2014 05:59:46
Module start 'content'
Warning: eZDebug::accumulatorStop Jul 09 2014 05:59:46
Accumulator 'Search' does not exist, run eZDebug::accumulatorStart first
Warning: eZDebug::accumulatorStop Jul 09 2014 05:59:46
Accumulator 'Search' does not exist, run eZDebug::accumulatorStart first
Notice: PHP: E_NOTICE Jul 09 2014 05:59:46
Undefined index: path in /var/www/www.csmonitor.com/extension/ezwebin/autoloads/ezpagedata.php on line 158
Notice: PHP: E_NOTICE Jul 09 2014 05:59:46
Undefined index: path in /var/www/www.csmonitor.com/extension/ezwebin/autoloads/ezpagedata.php on line 175
Notice: PHP: E_NOTICE Jul 09 2014 05:59:46
Undefined index: path in /var/www/www.csmonitor.com/extension/ezwebin/autoloads/ezpagedata.php on line 158
Notice: PHP: E_NOTICE Jul 09 2014 05:59:46
Undefined index: path in /var/www/www.csmonitor.com/extension/ezwebin/autoloads/ezpagedata.php on line 175
Notice: PHP: E_NOTICE Jul 09 2014 05:59:46
Undefined index: meta_class_identifier_ms in /var/www/www.csmonitor.com/extension/ezfind/classes/ezfindresultnode.php on line 111
Notice: PHP: E_NOTICE Jul 09 2014 05:59:46
Undefined index: meta_class_identifier_ms in /var/www/www.csmonitor.com/extension/ezfind/classes/ezfindresultnode.php on line 111
Notice: PHP: E_NOTICE Jul 09 2014 05:59:46
Undefined index: meta_class_identifier_ms in /var/www/www.csmonitor.com/extension/ezfind/classes/ezfindresultnode.php on line 111
Notice: PHP: E_NOTICE Jul 09 2014 05:59:46
Undefined index: meta_class_identifier_ms in /var/www/www.csmonitor.com/extension/ezfind/classes/ezfindresultnode.php on line 111
Notice: PHP: E_NOTICE Jul 09 2014 05:59:46
Undefined index: meta_remote_id_ms in /var/www/www.csmonitor.com/extension/csm_base/classes/CSMFunctionCollection.php on line 1028
Warning: eZTemplate:def @ extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/templates/content/datatype/view/ezbyline.tpl:10[1] Jul 09 2014 05:59:46
Variable 'story_source' is already defined.
Notice: PHP: E_NOTICE Jul 09 2014 05:59:46
Undefined index: meta_class_identifier_ms in /var/www/www.csmonitor.com/extension/ezfind/classes/ezfindresultnode.php on line 111
Notice: PHP: E_NOTICE Jul 09 2014 05:59:46
Undefined index: meta_remote_id_ms in /var/www/www.csmonitor.com/extension/csm_base/classes/CSMFunctionCollection.php on line 1028
Notice: PHP: E_NOTICE Jul 09 2014 05:59:46
Undefined index: meta_class_identifier_ms in /var/www/www.csmonitor.com/extension/ezfind/classes/ezfindresultnode.php on line 111
Notice: PHP: E_NOTICE Jul 09 2014 05:59:46
Undefined index: meta_remote_id_ms in /var/www/www.csmonitor.com/extension/csm_base/classes/CSMFunctionCollection.php on line 1028
Notice: PHP: E_NOTICE Jul 09 2014 05:59:46
Undefined index: meta_class_identifier_ms in /var/www/www.csmonitor.com/extension/ezfind/classes/ezfindresultnode.php on line 111
Notice: PHP: E_NOTICE Jul 09 2014 05:59:46
Undefined index: meta_remote_id_ms in /var/www/www.csmonitor.com/extension/csm_base/classes/CSMFunctionCollection.php on line 1028
Timing: Jul 09 2014 05:59:46
Module end 'content'
Timing: Jul 09 2014 05:59:46
Before parse_includes
Strict: PHP: E_STRICT Jul 09 2014 05:59:46
Non-static method MugoViewExtras::get_view_extras() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /var/www/www.csmonitor.com/extension/mugo_view_extras/autoloads/template_operators.php on line 37
Warning: eZTemplate:def @ extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/override/templates/extra/archive.tpl:21[1] Jul 09 2014 05:59:46
Variable 'view_extra_node' is already defined.
Timing: Jul 09 2014 05:59:46
After parse_includes
Timing: Jul 09 2014 05:59:46
End

Timing points:

CheckpointElapsedRel. ElapsedMemoryRel. Memory
Script start 0.0000 sec0.0140 sec 1,285.4063 KB1,162.0938 KB
Module start 'content' 0.0140 sec2.5019 sec 2,447.5000 KB10,565.1328 KB
Module end 'content' 2.5159 sec0.0100 sec 13,012.6328 KB381.6016 KB
Before parse_includes 2.5259 sec0.0425 sec 13,394.2344 KB287.0781 KB
After parse_includes 2.5684 sec0.0009 sec 13,681.3125 KB-175.0391 KB
End 2.5692 sec  13,506.2734 KB 
Total runtime:2.5775 sec
Peak memory usage:15,744.9219 KB

Time accumulators:

 Accumulator Elapsed Percent Count Average
ini_load
Load cache0.0072 sec0.2788%360.0002 sec
Mysql Total
Mysqli_queries0.0764 sec2.9622%1320.0006 sec
Looping result0.0066 sec0.2574%1250.0001 sec
Template Total2.5367 sec 98.3% 7 0.3624 sec
Template load0.0086 sec0.3320%70.0012 sec
Template processing2.5280 sec97.9807%70.3611 sec
Template load and register function0.0002 sec0.0079%40.0001 sec
states
state_id_array0.0041 sec0.1576%80.0005 sec
state_identifier_array0.0056 sec0.2169%110.0005 sec
override
Cache load0.0073 sec0.2812%480.0002 sec
eZ Find
MoreLikeThis0.0000 sec0.0000%00.0000 sec
Query build0.0073 sec0.2831%10.0073 sec
Engine time0.0196 sec0.7614%10.0196 sec
Search0.2444 sec9.4720%20.1222 sec
Class attribute list0.0777 sec3.0108%10.0777 sec
Sytem overhead
Fetch class attribute name0.0009 sec0.0354%60.0002 sec
Fetch class attribute can translate value0.0000 sec0.0008%10.0000 sec
class_abstraction
Instantiating content class attribute0.0001 sec0.0022%70.0000 sec
XML
Image XML parsing0.0026 sec0.1010%10.0026 sec
General
String conversion0.0000 sec0.0006%30.0000 sec
dbfile0.0012 sec0.0477%350.0000 sec
View Extra building0.0080 sec0.3099%40.0020 sec
Total script time:2.5801 sec

CSS/JS files loaded with "ezjscPacker" during request:

CacheTypePacklevelSourceFiles
01a980f93dc967c6e39d52a11ae2108b_1404899611_all.cssCSS3extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/stylesheets/normalize.css
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/stylesheets/html5b.css
design/standard/stylesheets/debug.css
extension/ezwt/design/standard/stylesheets/websitetoolbar.css
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/stylesheets/jquery-ui-1.10.3.custom.min.css
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/stylesheets/desktop.css
ede0a88fd146f1a095d27fb22227d0e5_1398846822.jsJS2extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/modernizr.js
extension/csm_base/design/standard/javascript/jquery-1.10.2.min.js
1650da1ba852ac5f9af81af07e8fa105_1404899611.jsJS2extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/jquery-ui-1.10.4.min.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/json2.js
extension/csm_base/design/standard/javascript/jquery.cookie.min.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/jquery.mobile.custom.min.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/plugins/jquery.arthole.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/plugins/jquery.sticky.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/plugins/jquery.csmstory.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/plugins/jquery.right_column.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/plugins/jquery.csmstory_editorspickdialog.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/plugins/jquery.sailthru_signup.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/plugins/jquery.jcarousel.min.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/plugins/jquery.history.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/plugins/jquery.mainNav.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/plugins/jquery.gallery.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/plugins/jquery.staffdialog.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/jQuery.rollChildren.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/pubService_extended.js
extension/csm_base/design/standard/javascript/csm/csmNew.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/jquery.quiz.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/jquery.spectrumQuiz.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/global.js

Templates used to render the page:

UsageRequested templateTemplateTemplate loadedEditOverride
1node/view/full.tplfull/article.tplextension/csm_base/design/csm_design/override/templates/full/article.tplEdit templateOverride template
1content/datatype/view/ezimage.tpl<No override>extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/templates/content/datatype/view/ezimage.tplEdit templateOverride template
2content/datatype/view/ezstring.tpl<No override>design/standard/templates/content/datatype/view/ezstring.tplEdit templateOverride template
2content/datatype/view/ezxmltags/paragraph.tpl<No override>extension/ezwebin/design/ezwebin/templates/content/datatype/view/ezxmltags/paragraph.tplEdit templateOverride template
1content/datatype/view/ezbyline.tpl<No override>extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/templates/content/datatype/view/ezbyline.tplEdit templateOverride template
1content/datatype/view/ezxmltext.tplcontent/datatype/view/story_info_box.tplextension/csm_base/design/csm_design/override/templates/content/datatype/view/story_info_box.tplEdit templateOverride template
1content/datatype/view/ezmatrix.tplcontent/datatype/view/ezmatrix_article_related_external_links.tplextension/csm_base/design/csm_design/override/templates/content/datatype/view/ezmatrix_article_related_external_links.tplEdit templateOverride template
1pagelayout.tpl<No override>extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/templates/pagelayout.tplEdit templateOverride template
1modules/mugo_view_extras/extra_cached.tpl<No override>extension/mugo_view_extras/design/standard/templates/modules/mugo_view_extras/extra_cached.tplEdit templateOverride template
1setup/debug_toolbar.tpl<No override>design/standard/templates/setup/debug_toolbar.tplEdit templateOverride template
 Number of times templates used: 12
 Number of unique templates used: 10
 Time used to render template usage: 0.0003 secs