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Reading the Small Print

May 30, 1999|SUSAN SPANO

Here are some common restrictions for special Web-only airline fares:

* Most must be booked online and are ticketed electronically. Payment is by credit card only.

* Specials are usually posted on the Wednesday before the weekend they're good for. Tickets must be purchased by Friday. Departures are for Friday or Saturday and returns for Sunday, Monday or Tuesday. (International flights sometimes give you more latitude in scheduling, and you don't always have to book online.)

* A "passenger facility charge" of up to $12 and a $2 tax on each flight segment are not included in the special price quoted.

* Web specials are generally for point-to-point flights, not for multi-segmented trips. If you put several Web specials together to get to your destination, all flights will be ticketed separately; you must check in for each leg of the trip.

* Fares require a Saturday night stay-over.

* One-way trips and standbys are not allowed.

* Tickets are nonrefundable, but can sometimes be changed for a $75 administrative fee.

* In most cases, you get frequent-flier rewards for trips promoted on the Web, but not the bonus points sometimes offered to frequent-flier program members.

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