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Airline industry prays for a smoother ride

After a meltdown over the Christmas holiday that affected millions of air travelers, US Airways and Comair are doing all they can to see that New Year's travel is problem-free. NBC's Kerry Sanders reports.

Passengers flying this holiday weekend may need "a wing and prayer" after the chaos over Christmas weekend, when thousands of US Airways passengers were stranded by bad weather and what appeared to be a "sick out" by union employees.

Many passengers who made it to their destinations arrived without luggage and the Christmas gifts inside. It left an impression.

In Florida on Thursday, Courtney Flynn refused to check her bag on the flight home to Maine, after losing her luggage for four days last week.

"They can drag my bag out of my white-knuckled fingers before I'll check it again," says Flynn.

To win back passengers, US Airways is urging employees to volunteer this weekend to greet passengers at its Philadelphia hub.

"We're here for the long run," says Molly McCarthy of the Association of Flight Attendants. "We have a very seasoned company, a very seasoned employee group. This is our family. This is our home."

The already financially troubled airline says without more union concessions, they will be forced to begin liquidating assets in two weeks.

"People need to buckle down and get this thing resolved," says David Stempler of the Air Travelers Association. "Hopefully US Airways will be around in the future."

At Comair, Delta's regional carrier, a computer glitch along with bad weather grounded flights last weekend, stranding thousands of passengers. The airline says it has now resolved the problem. Longtime Comair passenger George Lewis was on his way from Cincinnati to Chicago on Thursday.

"They say they're back on line and running on time," says Lewis. "So we'll see how they do."

Comair says thousands of bags still stuck at the airport in Cincinnati will be loaded onto trucks and shipped to passengers' homes.

For those traveling this New Year's weekend, weather could also be a problem. Rain delays are expected from Texas to Ohio, fog from San Francisco up to Seattle and snow storms in Minnesota.

The best ways to avoid problems, travel experts say, are to call ahead to check on your flight and get to the airport early.