Q. My husband and I are planning a trip to Italy for the end of summer and are wondering about Air Berlin. Their flights continually pop up with fares that are $200-$400 less than others.  I looked them up online and saw that they've been having troubles. Should we avoid them and pay the higher fare with a different airline? What's the worst that could happen if we were to give them a try?

A. There’s a reason why they’re cheaper. Yes, they are having operational difficulties. I flew them recently from LA to Rome via Germany and the flight was delayed 2 hours, so I missed my connection, and had to hang around the horrible Berlin Tegel airport for 6 hours until the next flight. No explanation, no announcements even acknowledging the flight was being delayed. But all airlines can have problems, so there’s no guarantee that flying on a different airline will ensure a smooth trip. If your flight is severely delayed and you’re flying on an European airline like Air Berlin, however, you can apply for compensation of up to 600 euros, so at least there’s that.

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