Talks between United Airlines flight attendants and management over better pay and benefits are expected to drag on after yesterday's deadline to hammer out a new contract passed without agreement. The failure to negotiate a new contract after nine months of talks spurred protests by the American carrier's cabin crew in Hong Kong, Tokyo, London, Frankfurt and throughout the United States. 'Flight attendants have been struggling with less pay and more time away from our families for the last seven years, while executives have taken millions [of dollars] in bonuses each of those years. That is unacceptable and it is time we receive the compensation we are due,' Jack Kande, who heads the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA in Hong Kong, said. 'Our demands are modest: pay, health care and retirement that meet middle-class standards, and working conditions that allow us to provide the best for United's passengers. We don't believe that is too much for anyone to ask. This is just the first of our public protests. We won't back down from what is right.' The association represents the 15,000 United flight attendants. Cabin crew were hoping to draw up new job contracts with improved terms after agreeing to work more for less pay when the airline filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in December 2002. Three years later, the airline cancelled its pension plan before emerging from bankruptcy in 2006. The January 7 deadline was part of an agreement to negotiate a new contract because bankruptcy- enforced pay cuts expired yesterday. The cabin crew complain their wages are at 1994 levels and their work hours almost 50 per cent more than in 2002. United's local office declined to comment and referred requests for comment to public relations firm Ketchum Newscan, which could not be reached.