Us airways started delivering luggage to passengers yesterday after suffering what its chief executive called an "operational meltdown," while Comair put some of its passenger...

Share story

PHILADELPHIA — US Airways started delivering luggage to passengers yesterday after suffering what its chief executive called an “operational meltdown,” while Comair put some of its passenger planes back in the air a day after canceling all of its 1,100 flights.

US Airways ran two baggage-only flights from Philadelphia to its hub in Charlotte, N.C., as it continued to pare down its mountain of backed-up luggage, caused by severe weather Thursday and large numbers of baggage handlers, ramp workers and flight attendants calling in sick.

The airline, operating at near-normal levels, canceled 43 of about 1,200 flights systemwide yesterday, down from 143 on Saturday and 176 on Friday.

In a memo to employees, Chief Executive Bruce Lakefield thanked those who helped “our customers during the operational meltdown we experienced over the weekend.” However, he criticized those who exacerbated problems by calling in sick.

Most Read Stories

Unlimited Digital Access. $1 for 4 weeks.

“I have seen lots of excuses for why people took it upon themselves to call in sick, such as low morale, poor management, anger over pay cuts and frustration with labor negotiations,” Lakefield said. “None of those excuses passes the test. We all have our jobs to do.”

Union leaders representing workers in negotiations with the airline over further pay and benefits concessions denied any organized effort to slow operations.

US Airways, which is operating under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, approved a new contract with its reservations and gate agents Thursday that slashed pay by 13 percent. The airline is seeking deals with flight attendants and machinists that it says it needs to drastically cut labor costs.

Meanwhile, Comair ran 110 to 165 flights yesterday, or 10 to 15 percent of its normal flight schedule, a day after canceling all flights when its computer system was overwhelmed by cancellations and delays caused by a storm in the Ohio Valley Friday night.

“We anticipate Comair will be able to operate on a full schedule by Wednesday,” said Nick Miller, spokesman for the Delta subsidiary based at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.