It would be great if the airlines would just refund the purchase price to anyone who bought a non-refundable ticket to Mexico, but you know they're not going to do that.

What some of them are doing, however, is allowing passengers to apply the full value of their fares to another trip to any destination within a year of the original ticket's issuance. In other words, you can take your $400 fare to Cancun and spend it on a trip to Europe instead.

But not all airlines are being quite fair on this. US Airways requires that you begin your alternate trip within 14 days of the original trip. Most other airlines, however, are giving travelers a whole year from issuance to begin their alternate trip.

Delta is requiring that you make your alternate plans by May 16, 2009 if you wish the change fee to be waived, but you can travel up to a year from the ticket's original issue date. American looks like they'll give you a voucher refund as well.

However, in past natural disasters, airlines have behaved even worse than this, requiring that you use your flight credit on the original itinerary and not on a new one.

So no full cash refunds, but it could be worse.

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