Would you guarantee somebody else's product? It sounds scary, but retailers do it all the time. You've heard the ads: "Buy from Big Al. If it doesn't work, forget the warranty. Just bring it back and Big Al will refund your money, no questions asked."

Big Al may or may not have a deal with the manufacturer, but the customer doesn't care. All the customer knows is that Big Al stands behind the product.

The airlines don't have a Big Al. They don't even have a Little Al. Nobody guarantees the airlines' schedule performance. In fact, the airlines don't even guarantee their schedule performance. Come to think of it, some intermediaries in this business don't even guarantee the airline's name.

Hal Rosenbluth may have just changed all that.

Every once in a while, a company launches a product, introduces an innovation, a new way of doing things, and manages to change forever the way everybody else looks at the business.

It's a little early yet, but that may have just happened on the Rosenbluth Interactive Web site, Biztravel.com, which now features the Biztravel Guarantee.

The guarantee states that bookings on five airlines (Air France, American, British Airways, Continental and US Airways) come with a guarantee. If the airline messes up your seat assignment, the travel agency will pay you $25. It will pay you up to $200 for incidentals if your luggage gets lost.

If your choice of entree is not available in first or business class, the travel agency will pay $25. Biztravel.com also pays $100 if the flight arrives 30 minutes late, $200 if it is 60 minutes late and it offers a full refund if the flight is canceled.

OK, it's a gimmick to stimulate bookings on the Web site. But this gimmick resonates with originality and daring.

Rosenbluth Interactive said the company wanted to "send a message and provide some leadership."

We'd say, "Mission accomplished."

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