In a recent story for the Chicago Tribune, George Hobica of Airfarewatchdog wrote about how to save on airfare and travel this summer. Among his tips was this one, which I thought was great in today’s world of intense competition among airlines:
“If you’re booking a flight on an airline to Europe that is cash-strapped, usually the ones with the lowest fares (R.I.P. Primera, Air Berlin, WOW), only buy with a credit not a debit card 60 or fewer days before travel. If the airline goes belly up your credit card company must eat the charges (federal consumer protection rules apply).”
Thomas Cook is one cash-strapped airline this might apply to. Norwegian Air, too, showed some worrying signs in the early part of this year, though for now it continues to fly. As Bloomberg writes in this story on the European airline market, “while the International Air Transport Association forecasts global airline profits will surge 10 percent in 2019, to $35.5 billion, European carriers will see their earnings slide. That’s because of competition and a delay in the effects of cheaper fuel, due to greater use of fuel hedging contracts that locked in some higher prices.” The chances of you booking a flight with an airline that goes under and leaves you stranded are of course very small, but still, keep that in mind.
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