Flight attendants with American Airlines might go on strike July 1st - disrupting vacations at the peak of summer travel. KOTV's Emory Bryan went to Tulsa International Airport to look at some precautions to take now.
The flight attendants are bargaining the crush of passengers this summer will force the airline to meet their demands for a new contract. While they're bargaining - passengers could be stranded - unless they know how to work around a strike. The Slogar family is heading home from a vacation at the US Open in Tulsa - and they're flying American, their favorite airline - but they're worried about their next trip. Tina Slogar says, "We are concerned it will affect our flying in mid-July, so we hope they don't strike too long." American is not only Tulsa's largest employer; it's the airport's most frequent flyer to Dallas and Chicago. A strike would cause major delays - and travel agents are already planning for it. Kim Logan with All Points Travel, "We've tried to divert traffic to other airlines around this time. And it's too bad we've had to do that, but we have to take care of our people."
Without a new contract, American's flight attendants plan to strike July 1st. The airplanes won't fly without them - so passengers would be stuck. In the event of a strike, the other airlines - except Southwest - will honor American's tickets. But they'll only honor paper tickets. "The first thing I would recommend is that they have a paper ticket, not an electronic ticket, that way they have something physical to take to another airline for them to honor the tickets." Another carrier would take your American physical ticket, rebook you and issue you another whole ticket, so they would take care of your return flight also.
Regular flyers are already making backup plans. Tina Slogar says, "We've had to rent a car and drive, because the flights just weren't going out." These days, few people get these paper tickets - but you can get them if you ask - even if you've already booked an electronic ticket. The airline can issue them at the airport - or if you booked through a travel agent, they can convert the ticket as well.
American Airlines says it doesn't expect an interruption in service - because they expect the President to intervene if a strike is called.