Virgin Atlantic said on Monday that it would introduce a free insurance policy for all new and existing flight bookings, pledging to cover up to £3,000 in expenses if a customer is denied boarding or has to quarantine due to a potential coronavirus infection.
The move, which the airline said would “provide additional peace of mind” to customers, comes as the aviation industry confronts an unprecedented crisis in coronavirus, and underlines the extent to which airlines are trying to coax customers to make bookings.
New analysis suggests that 85% of all airline routes across the world face some kind of travel restrictions.
And 93% of routes in the highly industrialised G20 countries are subject to restrictions, according to a note from Swiss financial services firm UBS.
The new Virgin Atlantic insurance policy will apply to all bookings up until 31 March 2021, and will also offer comprehensive cover if a customer or travel companion becomes ill with coronavirus.
Emergency medical costs, and associated expenses such as transport, accommodation, and repatriation — up to a total of £500,000 — will be included, the airline said on Monday.
The insurance policy will be fulfilled by Allianz Assistance, it said.
Customers booked to travel from 24 August up to and including 31 March will automatically receive the new insurance cover, as will Virgin Atlantic Holidays customers who have booked flights with Virgin Atlantic.
The policy will apply for a customer’s whole trip, with no upper limit on the length of the trip, the airline said.
“Our priority is always the health and safety of our people and customers and this industry-leading Virgin Atlantic COVID-19 Cover ensures customers can continue to fly safe and fly well with us,” said Juha Jarvinen, the chief commercial officer at Virgin Atlantic.
“Whether it’s to visit friends and relatives or take a well-deserved break, we believe this complimentary cover will provide some added reassurance for our customers as they start to plan trips further afield,” he said.