An unprecedented strike at Taiwan’s China Airlines ended after less than 24 hours late on Friday night after the management agreed to all demands by the flight attendants union over improving their working conditions and benefits. But at least three more flights scheduled for Saturday had already been cancelled. Union leaders pledged service would return to normal by overnight on Sunday, the island’s Central News Agency reported. I was surprised to see so many people queuing in front of the CAL counter David Cheung, Hong Kong businessman The union and the management reached an agreement at around 9.30pm on Friday after about five hours of negotiation. Triumphant union members declared victory at the site of the strike, the United Daily News reported. The strike – the first at any airline based in Taiwan – left at least 20,000 air passengers stranded. The airline cancelled 76 flights to Hong Kong, Japan and other destinations on Friday. Passengers had crowded around the airline’s check-in counter at the main airport in Taoyuan, demanding new bookings, and staged protests at the smaller airport in Taipei. “I was supposed to get back to work this afternoon, but I have been stranded at the airport since early in the morning,” said David Cheung, a businessman from Hong Kong who had been scheduled to depart at 8.15am. “I was surprised to see so many people queuing in front of the CAL counter and it was only then I realised that the airline’s workers had gone on strike and our flight was cancelled.” United Airlines’ Hong Kong flight attendants lead global day of airport protests Cheung said he tried to ask ground staff to help him get an afternoon flight from Tainan in southern Taiwan to return to Hong Kong, but was told the only daily flight was already full. He said the airline later helped him secure an evening flight with Cathay Pacific Airways. Some 20 undergraduate students from Dongguan in Guangdong on an exchange programme in Taiwan were luckier than Cheung. With the help of their Taiwanese sponsor and the airline, they managed to change their flight from Taoyuan to Tainan. They returned to Dongguan by bus after arriving in Hong Kong. “It is a new experience for me and I hope the crew members have their demands met,” one student was quoted by CNA as saying before departing. The strike started overnight on Thursday, with hundreds of flight attendants taking part in a demonstration at the airlines’ Taipei headquarters. No payrise since 1998: Hong Kong-based flight attendants threaten to take British Airways to court over wages and recognition The union’s director, Lin Hsin-yi, said poor working conditions and inadequate benefits were the major reasons its members had decided to go on strike. They wanted the company to revert to hourly wage rates in use before June 1.