UPRIGHT AND LOCKED
Bankruptcy and You
For the past two years, consumers worried about buying a ticket on a financially troubled airline could take comfort in a law requiring other airlines to transport passengers left stranded by a carrier that suddenly disappeared into insolvency.
It wasn't a perfect solution -- the airlines still flying were only required to accommodate you on a space-available basis. Plus, they could charge up to $50 each way. But it was something.
The law, however, is set to expire Nov. 19. "We extended it once," said Jim Coon of the House Aviation Subcommittee. "At this point, I've heard of no effort to extend it any further."
How to protect yourself? Start by buying tickets with a credit card. (You have 60 days to petition the credit card company to forgive the charge for goods or a service not delivered.) And consider buying travel insurance -- but make sure it covers bankruptcy and doesn't exempt the airline selling the ticket.
The World Tourism Organization expressed confidence last week that tourism in Bali would "bounce back as it has done before" after this month's terrorist bombings.
The WTO is probably right: Similar bombings of tourist hangouts in Bali in October 2002 disrupted the flow of tourists only briefly. In fact, in 2004 Bali had 1.46 million visitors, more than it did in the year before the bombings.
Perhaps their confidence was buoyed by Indonesia's counter-terrorism efforts, which have yielded numerous arrests over several years. But the masterminds remain at large, noted Robb Maxwell, the regional analyst for Asia at iJet Intelligence Risk Systems, an Annapolis-based company that advises businesses on security risks. If the leaders are arrested, the situation might improve. Until then, said Maxwell, "I wouldn't go."
Avoiding nonessential travel in Indonesia has long been the advice of the U.S. Department of State. Yes, CoGo knows that the State Department is cautious and can make scary pronouncements about places where seasoned travelers end up feeling comfortable. But a travel warning is different from the run-of-the-mill advisories at www.travel.state.gov. Currently, the department has travel warnings for 26 countries and urges Americans to avoid travel to 11. Once a destination makes that elite list, the threat is particularly serious.
Britain's foreign service agrees. Its site (www.fco.gov.uk) warns that "we continue to receive reports that terrorists in Indonesia are planning further attacks on Westerners and Western interests."
Immerse yourself in films and enjoy the fall colors at the Virginia Film Festival in Charlottesville, Oct. 27-30. Guests to make appearances include Vanessa Redgrave, Sissy Spacek and Kathy Baker. Details: www.vafilm.com . . . The Ethan Allen tour boat that capsized and sank on New York's Lake George last week, killing 20, was seriously overloaded, tests showed. Federal investigations continue . . . Vietnam veterans will be welcomed home 30 years after the end of the war during a Vegas homecoming Nov. 11-13. Plans include a parade and shows. Four hotels are offering discounts to active and retired military. Details: www.vegasexperience.com . . . Curious about cruising or looking for a deal? Travel agencies across the nation -- including 15 in Maryland and Virginia -- will host special events Oct. 19. Details: www.cruising.org.
BARGAIN OF THE WEEK
Montreal for Less
Fly round trip to Montreal for $263, including taxes. Details: What's the Deal?, Page P3.
Reporting: Cindy Loose
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