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United Plans Incentives to Lure Passengers Lost During Strike

Associated Press

United Airlines today said it will offer a series of incentives to regain customers after its four-week pilots’ strike and announced a plan to gradually restore more than 90% of its service by July 1.

Despite the passenger incentives, United President Jim Hartigan told a news conference: “We do not want to create a long-term price war. We want our customers back very rapidly.”

Among the incentive programs United will offer is a 50% cash rebate for passengers flying the airline from July 1-7.

Hartigan said United, the nation’s largest airline, will resume service gradually and will be operating 1,436 flights--more than 90% of its regular operations--by the first of next month.

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Hartigan also said that 700 pilots have been hired since the strike began and that they are scheduled for training. He said many of those pilots will be used for expansion purposes.

United’s incentives also will include free upgrades to first class when seats are available to people in the company’s frequent-flier program. That program will be available from today to Aug. 15.

A third incentive involves United “Ultra Saver” fares, cutting from 30 days to seven the advance time needed for purchase. That offer is extended to the end of the month.

Hartigan said he expects 100% of service to be restored by the end of summer. United has operated only about 14% of its normal 1,550 daily flights since pilots walked off the job May 17.

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Officials of the Air Line Pilots Assn., representing 5,000 striking pilots, announced late Friday night a tentative settlement in the strike.


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