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Unions balk as Japan woes put flight crews on edge

Rising radiation levels and continual aftershocks rumbling through Tokyo are raising tensions between pilots and managers at U.S. carriers flying to central Japan.

Union leaders at United and Continental Airlines say flight crews are anxious about deteriorating conditions in Tokyo, where the carriers’ pilots and flight attendants recuperate from long trans-Pacific flights. Get the full story »

United, Delta, American cancel most Japan flights

The three largest U.S. carriers scrambled Friday to ensure that employees in Japan were safe as they re-routed passengers and aircraft bound for the earthquake-stricken country.

United, Delta and American airlines canceled many, but not all, flights to Japan Friday and offered to waive booking fees for those who opted to cancel or reschedule travel there as the country recovers from one of the largest earthquakes on record. Get the full story »

Online travel agencies score big with shoppers

Online travel agencies remain a big hit with shoppers, new survey data show, but the sites’ popularity could fade if contract battles with airlines leave them with fewer airfares to lure bargain-chasing consumers, researchers warned.

With airfares soaring and the economy stuck in the doldrums, consumers continue to flock to travel sites to plot dream vacations and research deals and steals, a market that’s expected to total $104.6 billion in 2011, according to market research firm PhoCusWright Inc. Get the full story »

Weather flight tally: 20,000 canceled

Winter storms forced airlines to ground nearly 20,000 flights this week and chilled industry earnings, resulting in an estimated net loss of $121 million to $150 million, according to AirlineForecasts LLC on Friday.

American Airlines, the country’s third-largest carrier, took the biggest hit after high winds and ice closed its Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport hub Tuesday. Get the full story »

US Airways signs deal to stay on Expedia

US Airways says it has signed a deal with Expedia that will keep its flights and fares on the online booking site, less than a month after Expedia pulled American Airlines fares. Get the full story »

United, American suing O’Hare expansion

A passenger plane takes off at O'Hare as work continues in foreground on the runway expansion project. (Chris Walker/Chicago Tribune)

United and American Airlines on Tuesday made good on their threat to sue Chicago to stop the city from issuing bonds to finance the remainder of the expansion project at O’Hare International Airport.

The airlines, which say they cannot afford to help pay for new runways that will not be needed for years, filed the lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court just days after sending¬† a letter on Friday to Mayor Richard Daley,¬† asking for negotiations on the future of the O’Hare Modernization Program. The letter said the expansion must proceed based on future increases in flights. Get the full story »

Business as usual at U.S. airlines after travel alert

U.S. airlines Monday said their flights and schedules were unaffected by the U.S. State Department alert issued Sunday to warn American tourists of the potential for attacks by al-Qaeda and other groups in Europe. Get the full story »