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Entries during 2015-07

Going Once, Going Twice

Q. I've noticed that a number of discount airlines have included on their online booking search results such statements as "one ticket left at this price!" next to the fare price. While I've seen that prices actually do go up after that one ticket is bought, I'm wondering how believable is this statement? Does it necessarily mean the price won't go any lower in the future? Is this all a marketing ploy to get you to buy a ticket as soon a possible?

A. We’ve also noticed this, and we think it’s a legitimate warning. Airlines sell only a certain number of seats at their lowest fares at any given moment. However, this doesn’t mean that they won’t open up more seats at the same fare later on, or that they won’t lower the fare on a route to an even lower price the next day. Fares and seat availability at the lowest fares are in constant flux. The best way to nab a deal is to sign up for free low fare alerts from the many web sites offering this service.

Travel Insurance for a Free Trip

Q. I have very carefully accrued frequent flier credits in order to earn a free flight and I also recently received two free round-trip vouchers for giving up my seat on an overbooked flight. I'm excited about these opportunities for free travel, but, since I'll be putting time and money into planning all the other details of these trips, I'd like to insure these tickets as I would a regular ticket, including in the event that the airline folds. I know that I shouldn't buy a policy from the airline but straight from the insurance carrier, but is it even possible to buy insurance for a flight I technically didn't pay for? Can I pay for a policy that would cover the amount of the ticket price at the time I booked? That way, even if the airline folds, I can get a ticket on another airline without paying a lot more for a last-minute fare.

A. As far as we know, insurance companies will not insure your voucher tickets or frequent flyer awards tickets (pre-9/11 there were some policies that could be purchased to cover these kinds of trips)... however, trip interruption insurance is still available for that type of travel.

Domestic Travel with Minors

Q. What kind of ID is required at airports for young children ages 6 and 9? I understand they need a passport for international trips, but what about IDs for domestic flights?

A. Children and minors under the age of 18 are not required to show ID for domestic travel.

Once they hit late adolescence, it's probably a good idea to bring along something, be it a birth certificate, state-issued learner's permit, or even a passport, in the event they should be grilled by a TSA agent or airline employee, but if they are under 18, no ID is required.

If your children are traveling as unaccompanied minors, the airline will require a photo ID from the adults dropping them off and picking them up.

The airline may also require proof of age for children traveling as lap children or, in some cases, a doctor's letter for newborns.

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