Emirates Airlines has become the world's first airline to provide global medical coverage for passengers diagnosed with COVID-19 when traveling.
According to Emirates, coverage includes "repatriation assistance, assistance with medical and hospital costs, and assistance with quarantine accommodation costs in an approved facility." The state-owned airline will cover up to 150,000 euros ($174,200) for COVID-19-related medical expenses, and up to 100 euros ($116) a day for a mandatory two-week quarantine. This initiative was announced on Twitter.
No documentation is required to benefit from assistance; it is offered to all Emirates customers—regardless of nationality or travel class—and is valid for 31 days from the first date of departure (to be completed by October 31, 2020). Coverage will be available to travelers who make their way to another destination, even if the next leg of the trip is booked with another airline.
For those diagnosed with COVID-19 during their trip, Emirates says that "assistance will continue to be provided up to the actual duration of medical treatment or quarantine...even if it continues after the end of the 31 day period." Benefits end upon a traveler's return to their country of residence.
While Emirates is offering to cover their customer's medical expenses, COVID-19 testing is not included in this policy. Starting August 1, 2020, everyone who enters Dubai—including UAE residents—must take a negative COVID-19 test within 96 hours of departure. More specifically, travelers from California, Florida, and Texas (as well as 28 other countries outside the U.S.) must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate, and take the test again upon arrival to the city. Before you book your flight, be sure to check the regulations surrounding COVID-19 in your final destination.
Emirates Airlines has initiated other guidelines to ensure the safety of their customers. In addition to enhanced cleaning, face masks are required on-board; the cabin crew is to wear full personal protective equipment (PPE); and all passengers will be given a hygiene kit, complete with hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes. For flights booked before July 31, 2020 (for travel through November 30), Emirates is also allowing travelers affected by COVID-19 to reschedule or cancel their booking for no change fee.
"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 Sheikh Ahmed bin Saaed Al Maktoum announced in a statement. "It is an investment on our part, but we are putting our customers first, and we believe they will welcome this initiative."