Q. I know the airlines are having financial problems but I'm surprised that we lost both Aloha and ATA this week. And they say this stuff happens in threes. Think we'll lose another one? Also, we've planned a family vacation for June. How can we ensure we don't get ripped off should something like this happen to us?

A. It could very well happen again, as there are more than a few other carriers out there struggling to stay afloat. The best thing you can do to protect yourself is something you've probably already done: pay for your ticket using your credit or debit card, instead of cash  or check. You can contest the charge for a flight not taken, if you do so in writing within 60 days of the charge appearing on your card. Otherwise, you may have to line up in bankruptcy court. And that's not fun.

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