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How To Buy a Plane Ticket on an Airline That Might Go Bankrupt 💰

No names, but it is sooo tempting when the flight is sooo cheap.

Interested in flying from the Arctic to the Antarctic gateway for under $400? If you’ve got doubts about whether that cheap flight might leave you stranded in Tunisia and you’ll have to fight your way out of the hotel, Lord-of-the-Flies style, we would say that concern is valid. Here’s how to protect yourself if the airline goes bankrupt before the trip.

In the words of every millennial, if you were planning to jump on the WOW Air revival, or on another Nordic air carrier that has questionable future business prospects, we got you, boo.

Buy travel insurance.

Lately, color me a big fan of travel insurance. Maybe it has something to do with friends helicoptered off the Canadian Arctic to fight a life-threatening virus, or seeing others stranded thousands of miles away.

Premiums are often a fraction of the actual trip cost and what you’re really buying it for, the peace of mind and protection. The more popular travel insurance companies out there (personally vetted in our circles) include Allianz, WorldNomads and GeoBlue.

For the price-conscious, TravelInsurance.com is a Kayak-style search for comparing the different travel insurance providers out there.

Put the flight on a travel credit card.

This one is a no-brainer! Many credit cards these days like the Chase Sapphire Reserve and American Express Platinum offer decent travel insurance, although it may be the credit card that ends up footing the bill at the very end of the day. This is the cheap person’s excuse for not buying travel insurance.

Many moons ago, I considered traveling on Primera Air over to London. Though I decided against it, our friend Brian and his wife bought tickets. This was all before the airline went kaput

(Seriously, $100 transatlantic flights from New York to London? Even this, cough, insanely frugal person knew something was up.)

But Brian was covered because they made the purchase on a Chase Sapphire Reserve card. They filed a claim when the airline filed for financial insolvency, and that was that. No big deal.

The last time I saw him, he giggled about it over dinner, but that’s because he got his money back, and it all happened before the flight commenced.

Don’t make non-refundable hotel bookings.

The basic rule of thumb is that the vast majority of hotels and hostels have free cancellation, as long as it is done 24 to 48 hours in advance. Airbnb bookings are trickier, since each listing operates as an independent business on that platform, so pay attention to the fine print if that’s the plan.

The bottom line is that if having no place to sleep makes you nervous, go ahead and proceed with hotel bookings that can be canceled until it becomes clearer that the trip will happen.

Think before booking that Airbnb. (Joris Louwes / Flickr)

Delay booking activities until the flight commences.

In many cases, it’s possible to get a cheaper, last-minute deal on the spot, regardless. 🤷

If you’re afraid you might be stranded….

Have a stockpile of airline miles in case everything goes bunk. It’s our best advice these days. Or wait to be repatriated, British style.





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