I recently bought a ticket to go to France in May. I paid a little more than the lowest price, so that I could fly direct, and was very happy with my plan.
But two days ago I learned that my flight was cancelled. After calls to the various partners involved (airfare.com sold me an Iberia ticket for a flight operated by American Airlines...), I saw that the alternatives offered, all with a connection, were all significantly less convenient than what I could otherwise get (as well as a little bit more expensive). I gave up and asked for a refund. They are no longer offering the product that I bought, so let them give me my money back and we'll just forget the whole thing. That struck me as the simplest solution and the end of my frustrations.
But it's not easy to get a refund! After a few hours on the phone, this is my current understanding: if a customer buys a ticket and the flight later is cancelled (three months in advance) by the airline, then the customer will be refunded the price of their ticket, minus a $100 fee.
The morale of the story is: don't get into a fight with airlines. They're bigger than you and it's not worth your time.
Also: don't buy your ticket more than three months in advance!