With all the airlines going bankrupt lately, are there any that I should watch out for? I'm going to do some traveling this October, but I don't want to be stuck with a ticket on a defunct airline.
-Peter, Boise, Idaho
The best way to avoid being stuck with a ticket on a defunct airline has two steps: One, always buy your ticket with a credit card within 60 days of when you want to travel. Under federal credit laws, if the airline ceases to operate prior to you using your ticket—but within that sixty day window—you can dispute your charge. The credit card company will issue you a credit on your purchase amount, and you're off the hook.
The second way: purchase trip cancellation and interruption insurance—especially if the ticket price represents a sizeable financial investment on your part. However, I can give you no assurances that if you're holding a ticket on an airline that ceases to operate before your scheduled flight that any other airline will immediately jump to your rescue.