ATA Airlines customers left hanging

If you've got a ticket to anywhere on ATA Airlines, you're going nowhere. The airline canceled all flights yesterday, and is essentially out of business for good. Most of the Indianapolis-based airline's flights were between Hawaii and a handful of west cost cities or Chicago Midway.

What do you do if you've got a ticket for an ATA flight? Use it as scrap paper, because that's about all it's worth. The airline is saying "too bad, so sad" to customers, who will be forced to buy tickets on other airlines if they want to complete their travels. If you paid for your ticket with a credit card, however, you have a pretty good chance of getting a refund. If you paid with cash or a check, don't count on getting much (if anything) after the airline is liquidated in bankruptcy.

ATA officials said they're trying to see if other airlines will help their (now screwed) customers. But I don't think much help will be coming. Rumor has it that Southwest Airlines might be honoring some of the tickets for flights that were codeshared, but the availability is sketchy. Other than that, about the best you can hope for is a small discount if ATA is able to get other airlines to agree. But I wouldn't even count on that, as the airlines are all struggling lately with the massive increases in fuel costs.