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Booking through Expedia, Travelocity, etc

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I am in the process of planning a trip to Italy and have been researching flights. So far the best prices have been on Expedia and Travelocity.

A friend told me that I'd be better off paying a little more to book directly with an airline instead of with a booking site. He said that with airlines cancelling more flights lately, if my flight happens to be canceled before I travel, most airlines won't rebook your flight unless you purchased your ticket directly from them.

So my question for all you experts...is there any truth to this? Can I be out hundreds of dollars and left with no ticket if I book with Travelocity or Expedia and the flight I originally buy tickets for is cancelled?

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