Stranded At The Airport?

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You’re at the airport, all ready to check in, when suddenly, you’re told your airline has gone out of business. What’s a stranded passenger to do?

First, check our other carriers. Some will honor your tickets–but don’t expect the same travel schedule or even class, warns ASTA spokesperson Steve Loucks. But, says Jeff Collins of the International Airline Passenger Association, if the failed carrier did not have many code- sharing agreements, your ticket may be invalid on other airlines. If a grounded carrier plans on reflying at a future time, your ticket may not be honored elsewhere, which was the case with Kiwi and ValueJet ticketholders.

Booking through a travel agent can save you footwork in finding a carrier that will honor your ticket. An agent will also know a carrier’s track record and notice any potential problems (a carrier that pays travel agent commissions late could be a warning sign), says Loucks.

Realize that each airline sets its own policy. By purchasing a ticket, you’ve agreed to the conditions of that carrier. Temporarily grounded carriers like Kiwi, however, will usually offer refunds.