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Travel Tip: What If My Airline Goes Bankrupt?

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Consider this: Over the past decade, Delta, Northwest, United, US Airways, and now, American, have all filed for bankruptcy. So, what does it mean for you?

If the airline is still flying, you won’t lose your frequent-flier miles. In fact, those programs are usually the moneymakers for airlines, so they aren’t going away anytime soon. But it could get even harder to redeem those miles, especially if the airline is forced to cut its capacity or drop less-profitable routes.

If the airline stops flying altogether, don’t expect other airlines or the government to help you out. At one time, a section of the Aviation and Transportation Security Act required airlines to accept stranded passengers on a space-available basis. But the act has expired.
Some airlines might help out in a pinch, but often for an extra fee or with limitations on the ticket.

You can protect yourself by purchasing your ticket with a credit card–which you probably do already, but it bears repeating. That way you’re protected by the Fair Credit Billing Act, and can withhold payment for services not rendered.

For more information, visit the airlines and airport section.

Click here to read more of Peter’s travel tips.