United Airlines'

flight attendants Wednesday appealed a bankruptcy court ruling allowing the bankrupt carrier to terminate its traditional pension plans and hand them over to the federal government.

The Association of Flight Attendants, which represents about 15,400 United flight attendants, said it filed its appeal in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

Last Tuesday, Judge Eugene Wedoff of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois gave United the go-ahead to scrap its defined-benefit pension plans and turn over unfunded obligations to the federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.

The PBGC has guaranteed some $6.6 billion of United's pension shortfall, making the airline's pension default the largest since the PBGC's establishment in 1974.

United's parent

UAL

(UALAQ)

has been in Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection since December 2002.

Shares of UAL were up 5 cents to $1.14.