Emirates has become the first airline in the world to offer free COVID-19 medical insurance up to the value of $174,000 should a passenger fall ill after starting their journey. In addition, the Dubai-based airline will cover the costs of mandatory quarantine requirements arising from a positive Coronavirus test to the value of $115 per day up to 14-days.
Emirates’ chairman and chief executive, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum announced the policy in a Tweet on Thursday afternoon, explaining that the order came directly from the ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
Sheikh Maktoum said the measure would help “boost travel confidence and once again positions Emirates and Dubai as aviation industry leaders”. The cover is valid for 31 days from the moment a passenger takes their first flight and remains in force even if someone continues their journey onto another destination.
The free insurance policy is currently on offer on new bookings up to the end of October and the amounts of cover offered are the same for whatever class of travel passenger books.
But the offer comes on the condition that passengers have already tested negative for COVID-19 within four days of travel after the National Crisis and Emergency Management Authority yet again changed testing requirements for both inbound and transit passengers.
Until now, passengers from 12 ‘high risk’ countries had to present a negative COVID-19 test certificate before being accepted for travel on Emirates. In addition, tourists entering Dubai had to either present a negative Coronavirus test or take a test at the airport on arrival.
Those rules have now changed according to the statement carried on the website of UAE’s official news service. According to the WAM new agency, COVID-19 testing will be mandatory for all passengers, including transit passengers and Emiratis, irrespective of what country they are coming from, as of August 1.
The COVID-19 test must be taken before arriving at the airport at an additional cost to the passenger. The test certificate must have been produced within 96 hours of travel. Children under the age of 12 and passengers with “severe and moderate disabilities will be exempted from the test requirement”.
These testing requirements are subject to change at short notice as has proven to be the case on several occasions. Emirates is yet to clarify the changes on its website and amendments could be made before the rules come into force at the start of August.
With many insurance companies excluding COVID-19 related costs from policies, this new offer Emirates could prove to be a gamechanger.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.