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Thursday, August 24, 2006 - Page updated at 04:55 PM


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Be prepared in case of Northwest strike

Seattle Times staff reporter

Northwest Airlines has vowed to maintain a full schedule if flight attendants go on strike Friday, using other certified attendants on the planes

The airline's 9,300 flight attendants are poised to begin random work stoppages starting at 7:01 p.m. (Pacific Daylight Time) if a court ruling Friday doesn't block a strike. They're protesting the airline's plan to cut their wages and benefits by about $195 million a year.

Under their plan called CHAOS — Create Havoc Around Our System — flight attendants will strike in some cities and flight by flight, rather than a widespread strike. They have not asked other Northwest Airlines unions to support the strike.

For travelers with tickets on Northwest — which is a major carrier on flights to Asia, Minneapolis and Detroit, including from Sea-Tac Airport where it also has a popular Seattle-Amsterdam flight — the stoppages could indeed bring chaos. Some strategies:

• Get e-mail alerts about work stoppages by signing up on the Association of Flight Attendants Web site, The union will try to provide some advance information for travelers on disruptions, but passengers still could arrive at the airport and find their flight affected by a last-minute protest.

• Doublecheck on the status of your flight before leaving for the airport. Carriers' phone lines have a long wait at the best of times; if a strike begins the phones could be clogged so look for updates on the airline's Web site,

• For Sea-Tac departures, a good way to check on flights' status is the real-time arrival/departure information provided by the airport at

• Other airlines will usually accommodate travelers with Northwest tickets, but it could be a long wait since many airlines are flying almost full. Do some advance research on other airlines' schedules so you know which flights to pursue for a seat.

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company




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