Q. I have a friend who is scheduled to travel from Seattle to Tokyo next Friday.  He purchased the ticket from Airfare.com, who have a very specific  no refund policy.  My friend obviously doesnt want to lose the $980 he spent on the ticket, but with the damage caused by the earthquake, the ongoing aftershocks, and tsunami - not to mention the threat of radiation, AND a volcanic erruption in the south - it doesnt seem like now would be the best time to go. Does he have any options other than losing his money or paying the $350 chage fee plus the difference in fare to travel to another destination?

A. If his fare is a consolidator fare, which Airfare.com sells a lot of, he may be out of luck, unless he bought travel insurance. A change fee of $350 seems awfully steep. Most airlines charge $250. He might try calling the airline directly rather than going through Airfare.com. He could also wait to see if the situation worsens and his flight is canceled (which, the way things are looking, could very well happen) in which case he will be entitled to a full refund.

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