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Passengers hit by US air strike

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Passengers of US budget carrier Spirit Airlines are likely to have call upon their travel insurance policies after all its services for Monday and Tuesday were cancelled as a pilots' strike continues.

Industrial action started on Saturday after pilots, who have said their pay is poor compared to rival airlines such as AirTran Airways and JetBlue, staged a walkout. The contract row has lasted for more than three years and larger firms, such as American Airlines, are monitoring events closely as they negotiate with their own staff.

Paul Hopkins, strike committee chairman of Spirit's unit of The Air Line Pilots Association, said: "None of the planes are moving and none of our pilots have crossed the picket line."

Spirit Airlines, which is based in Miramar and mainly flies out of Fort Lauderdale, flies about 16,680 passengers daily - around 1% of the US total. Its main routes go between the east of the country and the Caribbean and Latin America. Officials said no talks are scheduled with the pilots.

The firm is offering refunds to passengers and a £69 credit towards future flights as well as trying to book them on to other airlines. Some replacement tickets, though, were up to three times higher than the price people had paid for the Spirit Airlines seats.

© Press Association 2010