Q My round-trip flight to Italy in December is booked on Aeroflot with 15-hour layovers, coming and going, in the Moscow airport. After the Malaysian flight was downed, I started worrying. Will Aeroflot give me a refund if there's a threat of terrorism or war?

A Unless you have a refundable ticket, you may be out of luck. In recent months, we've seen airlines that will not waive change fees, much less refund, tickets to areas affected by chikungunya, a nonfatal but dreadfully painful illness. But we have also seen airlines that are proactive in the face of trouble. Delta suspended flights to Tel Aviv after a rocket struck near Ben Gurion Airport. Delta also waived change fees for flights to areas affected by the deadly Ebola virus. And United let passengers who might be affected by Tropical Storm Bertha change their tickets without a fee or cost hike.

300 dpi Phill Flanders illustration of paper airplane made out of U.S. dollar bill; can be used with stories about cost of flying. The Miami Herald
300 dpi Phill Flanders illustration of paper airplane made out of U.S. dollar bill; can be used with stories about cost of flying. The Miami Herald 1995

krtnational national; krt; krtcampus campus; mctillustration; 10005000; 10006000; 10007000; FEA; holiday; krtfeatures features; krtlifestyle lifestyle; krttravel travel; LEI; leisure; LIF; tourism; vacation; 04000000; FIN; krtbusiness business; krtnamer north america; krtusbusiness; u.s. us united states; airplane; dollar bill; mi contributed flanders; USA; 1995; krt1995 ( Flanders )

But Aeroflot's contract of carriage is clear about what a budget passenger can expect: A fare refund for that class of ticket is "not authorized." Contracts of carriage, or terms and conditions, are almost always worth reading, even if they are stultifying. (In Aeroflot's, you'll also learn that "medium or strong" intoxication or "extremely low/high blood pressure" may make a party subject to a medical examination. Apparently, one should not drink too much, go into a rage or assume a Zenlike state.)

-- Catharine Hamm, Los Angeles Times



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