The Corona Virus pandemic hit the world in a harsh wave that paralyzed most activities. People were confined to their homes as a result and movement limited to only absolutely necessary circumstances. Many sectors of the economy were mutilated and most especially travel and tourism industry, as if our economies weren’t already struggling enough.
Emirates the Dubai based airline has come up with one of the best strategies to boost passenger confidence in their safety measures that have exceeded even some hospitals we have in Kenya. If it wasn’t clear that Emirates is coming for Kenya Airways and the other airlines, it is now. While Kenya Airways is pushing to lay off nearly 400 pilots and cabin crew, Emirates retained all of them and devised a market strategy that seems to have won the hearts of most travellers.
Emirates negotiated a medical insurance package/cover for everyone that travels through the airline specifically for Covid 19. The medical cover even extends posthumously and covers the funeral expenses thould the patient succumb to the ailment. As a pilot project, the package covers travelers for 31 days (roughly) a month from the date of travel even in cases where the passenger continues to travel given the incubation period of the virus in a human body. That is more than even our government has done for us in the circumstances.
The deal was brokered with NEXT ARE, an affiliate of Allianz, a globally recognized travel insurer that makes it legitimate enough for prospective passengers to travel. In retrospect, the policy covers medical expenses that a passenger incurs while treating the virus at world-class hospitals.
For travellers in Kenya, only Aga Khan and the Pandya Hospital in Mombasa were identified. Other big names in the league such as the Nairobi Hospital, Karen Hospital and Matter hospital failed to qualify.
The cover will also pay for quarantine costs averaging 118 euros per day for the travellers who are required to quarantine. Additionally, the costs of repatriation are covered in the event that you miss your flight because of Corona Virus related events incidental to your flight with Emirates. They will also cater for expenses of repatriating your body and the subsequent funeral expenses that come about. Mind you the funeral costs are standardized at 1500 euros and are separate from treatment, repatriation or quarantine expenses.
“Emirates will pay medical bills for travellers who become symptomatic with coronavirus while at their destination, at least until 31 October 2020.
If a passenger is diagnosed with Covid-19 while they are away from home, the Dubai-based airline says it will cover medical and repatriation expenses of up to €150,000 (£137,000).” Said Emirates CEO Al Bin Saed.
The airline is also the only airline to implement the recommended travel sitting arrangements between passengers that reduced the number of possible travellers by more than a third in each aircraft. The cover is automatic and free, meaning that there are no additional payments or registration required in order to qualify. It is automatic for each traveller that chooses Emirates as their preferred carrier.
The testing costs are however not covered but may be claimed and approved within the medical bill. This is all in bid to boost customer confidence in the airlines Covid 19 containment measures which include disinfection of the aircraft even during travel and the inclusion of a doctor specialized in respiratory disorders in the passenger manifest. At this rate it surely feels safer to travel with Emirates than staying at home. Kenya Airways should borrow a leaf or two.