In an effort to restore traveler confidence amid the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic, one airline will cover COVID 19-related medical and funeral costs for passengers. Emirates Airlines has announced it will cover medical bills, quarantine expenses, and, if necessary, funeral costs for travelers who test positive for COVID-19 during their trip at no additional cost to passengers.
"Emirates has worked hard to put in place measures at every step of the customer journey to mitigate risk of infection, and we have also revamped our booking policies to offer flexibility," Emirates Group Chairman and Chief Executive HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said in a statement released last week. "We are now taking it to the next level, by being the first in the industry to offer our customers free global cover for COVID-19 medical expenses and quarantine costs should they incur these costs during their travel."
Under Emirates' global COVID-19 coverage program, passengers who fly with the airline before Oct. 31 will automatically be enrolled in the benefit program. Eligible travelers who test positive for COVID-19 while outside of their home country can expect Emirates to cover up to €150,000 (or roughly $176,000) of medical expenses. The airline will also cover quarantine costs of up to €100 (roughly $117) for a maximum of 14 days. And should a passenger pass away due to COVID-19 or a related issue, Emirates will assist in arranging for the body to be transported home and cover up to €1,500 (roughly $1,763) in funeral costs.
While customers don't need to register or fill out any forms beyond purchasing their ticket to be eligible for the program, they must contact Emirates COVID-19 Cover Assistance program hotline as soon as they're notified they've tested positive for the virus. Emirates will not reimburse passengers for bills or expenses they've already paid and will only cover services that have been organized by the Emirates COVID-19 Cover Assistance program.
In announcing its new program last week, Emirates said it aimed to give its customers the necessary assurances to regain confidence in international travel despite the ongoing threat of the novel coronavirus. While the Dubai-based airline acknowledged its new customer incentive was an investment for the company, they said they believed travelers would ultimately welcome it.
"We know people are yearning to fly as borders around the world gradually re-open, but they are seeking flexibility and assurances should something unforeseen happen during their travel," Al Maktoum said.
If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support. You can find all of Romper’s parents + coronavirus coverage here.