By Chris Loh
It seems like COVID-19 insurance cover is one of the latest travel trends. Middle Eastern carrier Etihad Airways is metaphorically ‘jumping on the bandwagon’ and offering coverage as well. The Abu Dhabi-based carrier is introducing COVID-19 insurance as part of its ‘Etihad Wellness’ program.
“The safety, health, and wellbeing of our guests and employees is our top priority, during and beyond the flight. The introduction of global COVID-19 insurance, in partnership with AXA, builds on stringent measures already in place as part of our Etihad Wellness programme, championed by our Wellness Ambassadors.” -Duncan Bureau, Senior Vice President Sales and Distribution, Etihad Airways.
What’s the deal?
According to Etihad, guests who are diagnosed with COVID-19 during their trip won’t have to worry about medical expenses or quarantine costs when they fly with the carrier. The airline says,
“If you are diagnosed with COVID-19 while you’re away from home, COVID-19 global wellness insurance will cover up to €150,000 of medical costs and up to €100 a day of quarantine costs in case of a positive diagnosis for 14 days.”
All Etihad tickets, regardless of the date of the booking, traveling between now (September 7th) and December 31st will include COVID-19 insurance. Guests with existing bookings won’t need to do anything as they are automatically enrolled in the program.
Bad news for anyone taking an extended trip, however. One caveat is that there’s a limit to the number of days of coverage as the insurance is only valid worldwide for 31 days from the first day of travel.
Instilling a sense of confidence
The airline hopes that this additional cover will not only instill confidence to travel but also reassure its travelers that the company is doing all that it can to keep them safe and protected. “As more countries start opening their borders, we are making it as easy as possible for our guests to plan their next trip, hassle-free,” Bureau adds.
As mentioned above, the airline has partnered with worldwide insurance firm AXA to provide this coverage. Adelane Mecellem, Chief Executive Officer Asia, Middle-East, Turkey, and Africa, AXA Partners, says that his company is focused on improving the customer experience and wellness of individuals during these times. He said,
“As such, we are proud to partner with one of the world’s leading airlines, Etihad Airways, and provide their extensive loyal travelers with new protection solutions when needed most.”
Etihad joins other airlines with insurance inclusion
At the end of August, Virgin Atlantic revealed that it would give every passenger complimentary COVID-19 cover. The insurance policy will cover up to £500,000 ($655,777) in emergency medical costs and related expenses.
Meanwhile, Emirates claims to have been the first to make this type of offer – promoting its insurance coverage from late July. The airline says its passengers’ medical expenses are covered up to €150,000, just like Etihad. Quarantine costs are also covered- up to €100 per day for 14 days.
And it’s not just airlines – the Dominican Republic is offering tourists COVID-19 coverage on arrival.
Airlines are betting that this inclusion will tip the scales in convincing prospective travelers to book a ticket rather than wait-out the pandemic. Even though travel volume is still low, airlines can still strike a reasonable deal with insurers that won’t cost them too much. Insurers are obviously betting that they won’t be receiving too many claims compared to what they are making from airlines.
Furthermore, whatever additional cost an airline would incur is rolled into the value of the ticket- perhaps raising it by an unnoticeable amount relative to the full cost of the flight.
After looking at the details of this policy, would the coverage convince you to book a flight with Etihad? Let us know by leaving a comment!
Deputy Editor – An experienced photographer and video producer, Chris is a journalistic natural. Degree educated with a wealth of traveling history, Chris’ insight into routes, networks, and alliances brings a depth of quality to his work that is hard to beat. His strong relationships with Middle Eastern and Canadian airlines make him an asset to the team. Based in Vancouver, Canada.