With Zoom suddenly going under, and Alitalia filing for bankruptcy, I'm getting nervous about buying too far in advance. Anyone know of a website that keeps track of which airlines are on life support and likely to go bankrupt? Yeah, yeah, I know--all of them, but some of them are closer to the edge than others. It's be nice to know before investing in tickets.
It's hard to tell. If you would have told me, for example, that US Air or Continental would still be around after the trouble they had in the 1990s, I would've called you crazy (especially on US Air). On the other hand, although apparent now, Braniff didn't look to be struggling too badly when it collapsed...
The only ones who do this are financial analysts covering the airline industry. And they don't have one specific website. You can look up an individual airline to see the analyst's rating but that doesn't really mean much. Plus, the airline has to be publicly traded.
Generally, the smaller carriers are more in danger of gong bust as the larger carriers will first try to merge with another.
In general, the number of flights will be cut back to fill the remaining planes. There will be a lot more codesharing. This, of course, will raise fares. I think the days of big discounts across the pond are over.
When you do buy, make sure you use a credit card because that is one of the safest ways to protect your money.
If anyone was able to predict which companies were going to file for bankruptcy, or conversely turn a profit, they would filthy rich:) Sadly even the employees at failing airlines don't know their company has filed for protection until they read it in the newspapers like the rest of us.
No one can predict it. We all thought Frontier was doing fine (relatively speaking, of course) so their bankruptcy caught everyone by surprise. You only protection is a credit card or trip insurance provided the insurance has a clause for bankruptcy.
JER, With today's fuel prices and the crazy business models airlines use, you might as well assume that ALL airlines are at risk for going bankrupt.
Probably your best option is to read the Wall Street Journal regularly. The Journal won't actually compile a list, but you can track the short business briefs. If you start seeing frequent press releases like "US Air to miss 4th quarter earnings targets" or "American to re-negotiate with unions", something bad may be coming soon.
Thanks, Tom. The thing is, you can only "charge back" a credit card purchase within 60 days after it is posted to your account. So that remedy isn't helpful for long-in-advance purchases of airfare tickets. Last time I bought travel insurance (for medivac, mainly) I did notice that there was a long list of excluded airlines for bankruptcy coverage. Maybe next time I purchase travel insurance, I'll more specifically check out the list...
Why don't you tell us what carriers you're thinking of flying with and some of us may be able to help by looking at financials.
If you're considering UAL or BA...don't be concerned. If they go under, it would have a major impact on the economy. Remember, airlines carry more than just Rick Steves fans going to Europe--business passengers, cargo, mail, etc.
A discounter, who doesn't necessarily have outside contracts for cargo, would have the hardest time surviving in a difficult economy.
Look for more European airlines to merge, and more U.S. carriers to either merge or consolidate operations with foreign carriers.
And look for a reduction in lower revenue domestic services in favor of the largely profitable international routes...