* Many discount fares are non-refundable; if you buy one of these fares and

later cancel your trip, you will not get your money back. Some fares also

have a penalty for changing flights or dates even if you don't want a

refund. You may also have to pay any difference in air fares if your fare is

not available on the new flight.

* Some airlines will not increase the fare after the ticket is issued and paid

for. (Simply holding a reservation without a ticket does not guarantee the

fare.) Other airlines may reserve the right to collect more money from you

if the fare that you had purchased goes up before departure time. Find out

from the airline before you buy your ticket what its policy is on assessing

fare increases after the ticket is purchased.

* After you buy your ticket, call the airline or travel agent once or twice

before departure to check the fare. Fares change all the time, and if that

same fare goes down before you fly, some airlines will refund the

difference. But you have to ask.

Differences in air fares can be substantial. Careful comparison shopping among

airlines does take time, but it can lead to real savings.

Information Provided by the U. S. Department of Transportation.

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