In response, several major carriers - American, Continental, Delta, Northwest, United and US Airways - are making operational changes aimed at easing the aggravation before the next peak travel period, Thanksgiving. Among the actions:

- American will leave some seats unsold on key routes for more flexibility in rescheduling passengers from canceled or delayed flights.
- United and Continental are adding self-serve kiosks so that rebooked passengers can avoid lines and print out their own new boarding passes.
- US Airways is lengthening the flight day to give delayed planes a chance to catch up and will also keep spare planes available in case of cancellations.

"Anything would be an improvement over what they're doing now," said Frank Vettorel of San Jose, who works in sales and logs about 75,000 air miles a year. "Keeping planes on standby helps to backfill in case of some major glitch, and self-serve kiosks are an even better idea.

"But I think it's all lip service. They haven't done anything yet."

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