Announced earlier today, UK based carrier Virgin Atlantic, has announced that it will be providing (as courtesy) Covid-19 insurance to it’s passengers. The insurance policy is set to cover up-to £500,000 in emergency medical costs and any related expenses.
Fighting Back Against the Pandemic
Virgin Atlantic is not the only carrier to offer such an insurance. In a move earlier last month, Dubai based carrier Emirates added a similar insurance offering to all their passengers. Though the air-travel industry is showing small signs of recovery from the Coronavirus Pandemic, concerns from passengers about travelling onboard aircraft are still common-place, A huge 49% of passengers said they did not feel safe returning to the skies this summer.
Virgin’s cover is valid from today, 24 August, up-till trips before March 31st 2021, and will cover all medical expenses and related expenses (Accommodation, Transport and Repatriation) if a passenger falls ill with Covid-19 due to travelling onboard a Virgin Atlantic flight. The insurance is set to be rolled out to all passenger’s flying onboard the airline, at no extra fee, including one-way travellers. For those with a return ticket, the period covered will be from the point of booking, to the point of returning home or to a hospital in their home country. Meanwhile, one way passengers will have cover for up-to 12hrs after the passenger’s final flight has arrived.
The policy has no excess (the amount an individual has to pay before the Insurance Provider pays the rest of the cost) payable by passengers, meaning that should a passenger contract the disease aboard a flight, they will face no financial implication. Under the policy, a £3000 payout will be offered to all passengers denied boarding due to Covid-19, or one who has to quarantine during a trip. That said, Virgin has reiterated that this insurance is not an adequate replacement for travel insurance itself and protection against other travel incidents, and illnesses, is still recommended, and in some cases required.
Speaking to the media about the new policy, Chief Commercial Officer – Juha Jarvinen – said:
“Whether it’s to visit friends and relatives or take a well-deserved break, we believe this complimentary cover will provide some added reassurance for our customersas they start to plan trips further afield. It applies in parallel to existing travel insurance policies which may now exclude COVID-19, and provides comprehensive cover for coronavirus, recognising the needsof our customers as we restart services.”
Not Exclusive to Virgin Atlantic
Virgin takes inspiration from Dubai-based carrier, Emirates who began to offer complimentary insurance against the virus in late-July this year. The Dubai carrier is currently covering expenses up to a – significantly lesser limit – of £135,000 and £1260 (approx.) if a passenger is forced to quarantine during their trip.
Similarly Lufthansa has began to introduce a numerous package of “flight guarantees” to passengers travelling onboard. Beginning on 25 June, Lufthansa introduced a return flight guarantee and flexible booking options to all passengers, ensuring that should another lockdown of quarantine measure be put into place by a nation, passengers could safely be repatriated to their origin. Additional protections were also introduced by the carrier, including insurance for passengers denied boarding due to Covid-19 factors (such as displaying symptoms) and also loss of expenses such as hotel or excursion cancellation should a passenger be unable to travel.
With the travel industry fighting for survival, is the approach by Emirates, Lufthansa and now Virgin Atlantic the way forward for travellers? What are your thoughts – Let us know below!