Virgin Atlantic has followed Emirates and introduced free coronavirus travel insurance in a bid to persuade passengers to fly.
The airline, which is currently battling to stay alive, said the cover will apply automatically for travel up to 31 March 2021 and extend up to $500,000 per customer.
Chief commercial officer Juha Jarvinen said in a statement the initiative “applies in parallel to existing travel insurance policies which may now exclude COVID-19, and provides comprehensive cover for coronavirus, recognising the needs of our customers as we restart services”.
In total, Virgin said the deal will include:
- 24-hour emergency medical assistance;
- £500,000 of emergency medical expenses if you are taken ill due to coronavirus during your journey, including treatment, transport and accommodation costs;
- Additional costs should a customer be denied boarding due to suspected or actual COVID-19, or if they are held in quarantine, including accommodation, transport charges, refreshments, booking amendment fees and other travel expenses;
- Repatriation home, including private air ambulance where necessary;
- Cover for the whole trip, with no upper limit on the length of customer’s time away; and
- Cover for all passengers with no restrictions on age, travel class or length of the journey.
The cover, which doesn’t require an excess to be paid, will start from the point of booking and ends when a customer returns to a home or hospital.
In July, World of Aviation previously reported that Emirates launched a similar scheme covering passengers for up to $250,000 worth of expenses.
It follows other ideas to encourage flying, such as JetBlue allowing customers to fly before paying a single dollar under a new partnership with New York-based Goldman Sachs.
The low-cost carrier – which has recently made headlines for achieving carbon neutrality across its domestic network – began trialling its MarcusPay option to recreational travellers in April.
Virgin Atlantic itself still isn’t out of the woods in its own battle to stay alive, and has entered the final leg of talks with its creditors ahead of a British High Court vote this week on a vital £1.2 billion (US$1.57 billion) rescue package it has secured.