CHICAGO, Aug. 14, 2000 -- A class action suit charges that United Airlines has been knowingly accepting reservations for flights that it knew would probably be canceled. The suit charges breach of contract and fraud.

United has canceled thousands of flights recently as the result of bad weather, pilot shortages and labor unrest. Many of its pilots have been refusing to work extra hours since their contract expired.

In the suit, Kevin Conboy charges that he bought a $1,300 ticket to fly from Chicago to New York on August 6. When he got to the airport, he found that his flight have been canceled and alternate flights were not easily available.

Conboy wound up renting a car and driving to Milwaukee, where he caught a flight to Newark, NJ on another airline.

The suit was filed by attorney Todd Hanson of Stern Holstein Zimmerman & Hanson. It seeks a refund, interest and compensation for emotional distress. No other plaintiffs have yet joined the suit.

"People are relying on United Airlines to their detriment," Hanson said. UAL had no comment.