Nearly 90,000 vacationers stranded! Is your next vacation safe?


It started small last month, if you consider stranding 900 people on the wrong end of the planet "small." That's when the airline Zoom, which made regular transatlantic runs to North America, zonked out unexpectedly.

The sudden death of airlines creates a ripple effect. Last week, another 2,500 English travelers were left high and dry in the Mediterranean when Seguro, a vacation packager, raised the white flag. You see, the Spanish flyer Futura suddenly folded, leaving the vacation packager that used its flights holding the bag.

The next day, Britain's third-largest vacation seller, XL, gave up the ghost, halting its self-run flights and stranding an astounding 85,000 people abroad. That's a lot of sunburned Brits pounding the counters at tropical airports. Some 10,000 of them, who booked their flights without packages, were not covered by the bond and had to pay more money to get back home. Another 200,000 people with advance reservations were also wondering where their down payments had gone.

Many of the victims of these collapses thought they were covered because they used their credit cards to buy their trips. That's just not the case.