"How'm I gonna get back to Detroit?" tourist Fran Tesorero wanted to know. He didn't sound too worried.

Like scores of tourists in Waikiki last weekend, he found himself in a lovely dilemma, delayed for hours -- or up to a day -- on the beach under bright sun, swaying palms and 80-degree temperatures as United Airlines pilots picketed at the airport.

Most tourists who took a number and waited in line at the United Airlines Waikiki ticket office found themselves automatically rerouted on another airline -- Western, American or Continental.

Those forced to spend a few more hours here welcomed the extra time.

"I don't mind," said Mary Dorothy Pierce, 73, of San Antonio, on her first Hawaiian holiday.

Inside the ticket office there was some anxiety, but nearly everyone emerged smiling with a ticket for a flight home. Outside on busy Kalakaua Avenue, an almost carnival atmosphere prevailed.

"If I can't get out," the Detroit-bound Tesorero shrugged, "I'll just look for a job here."

"I'm stranded in Waikiki," said Nancy Mim, 25, of Houston, "Ahhhh, too bad."

She snuggled up to a picketing United pilot while a friend snapped their picture. "My first time on a picket line," said Capt. Woody Grover, who is a jumbo-jet pilot based in Los Angeles.

Out of place like storm-grounded birds, he and three other pilots shared the sidewalk with a Hare Krishna pitchman and warmed to their role as Waikiki's newest tourist attraction.

"I've met more people today than in all my ground time here," said Capt. Ron Lundgren of San Diego. "People are so nice."

"Ummmm," a middle-aged Honolulu woman said, "nicest looking picket line I've ever seen."

The silver-haired pilots in rakish hats and smart uniforms stood in the hot afternoon sun wearing unfamiliar picket signs and giving free travel advice.

"I'd get a flight out on Western," Lundgren said, "that's how I'm going home."

The strike left the pilots "homeless" in Hawaii.

"We were told to leave our layover hotel just before the strike began," said Grover, who touched down in Honolulu from Los Angeles 90 minutes before the strike began at 6 p.m. local time Thursday.

On the picket line they apologized to customers, especially elderly tourists.

"We hated to do this," Capt. Walt Roll of Los Angeles told a Baltimore couple, "but we had to." The couple said they understood.

"We're really in the people business," Roll said.

Pilots exchanged waves with passing motorists, shook hands and returned smiles from young women.

A vacationing Delta pilot paused to swap strike information.

"I heard Boston's closed," the Delta pilot said. "Teamsters."

"Hey, cap'n," a surfer shouted. "How long's the strike gonna be?"

"I wish I knew," Grover said. "I wish I knew."