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Who covers the cost of missed flights if a pax is sick?

Mattg

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At the moment, all airlines are encouraging customers to stay home and not fly if they have any flu-like symptoms. Some are even taking temperature tests when passengers check in.

Now, this is entirely fair enough. But what happens to a customer's ticket if they choose not to fly due to feeling unwell? Will the airline refund them/rebook them at no cost?

I imagine that most people would already know if they were feeling unwell at the time they were due to travel. But if there is a financial penalty to not using the ticket, I suspect some may choose to travel anyway.
 

Gremlin

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This is one of the things I want properly explained before I leap on a plane in this brave new world. This and travel insurance are two key unknowns that need to be resolved.

All well and good to have 'bubbles'. All well and good to have quarantine measures. All well and good to have airlines wanting to resume.

I will want to know that I'm not left holding the can if/when things go wrong.
 

jb747

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I imagine that most people would already know if they were feeling unwell at the time they were due to travel. But if there is a financial penalty to not using the ticket, I suspect some may choose to travel anyway.
This is a problem across our entire community, not just travellers.

Many workers don’t have sick leave, and they cannot afford to stay away from work. So, they go to work and spread flu, 19, whatever. For pretty obvious reasons QF did not want pilots in the cockpit with colds. So, there was actually a second form of sick leave that was just for colds/flu. Basically up to 14 days, that was not subtracted from your annual (accruing) sick leave for upper respiratory tract infections.
 
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This is one of the things I want properly explained before I leap on a plane in this brave new world. This and travel insurance are two key unknowns that need to be resolved.

All well and good to have 'bubbles'. All well and good to have quarantine measures. All well and good to have airlines wanting to resume.

I will want to know that I'm not left holding the can if/when things go wrong.
Yes my thoughts exactly. Does anyone know of a travel insurance provider that is actually offering health cover for COVID-19. I mean offering now for new bookings, not just for historical bookings yet to be travelled, I’ve googled, but nothing seems to come up for me.
 

Gremlin

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Yes my thoughts exactly. Does anyone know of a travel insurance provider that is actually offering health cover for COVID-19. I mean offering now for new bookings, not just for historical bookings yet to be travelled, I’ve googled, but nothing seems to come up for me.
Short answer is no. There was a useful article in Traveller during the week on this. Doesn't sound promising...

The one big issue that will stop Australians travelling overseas
 

p--and--t

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There seems to be a few long bows being drawn to not pay out insurance claims with wording such as...

"Policies purchased after 23 March 2020 will not provide any cover for claims directly or indirectly arising from, relating to or in any way connected with COVID-19." [my bolding]

Long before covid was even a thing, people felt unwell with flu, upper respiratory or cold like symptoms or bad headaches (migraines) and didn't end up travelling on their paid ticket. Airlines also have denied boarding if they thought the passenger was too unwell or risks to travel for a variety of reasons (i.e. late in third trimester, oversized wheelchair).

If a traveller is feeling unwell and thinks they might have the 'flu' and decide not to travel for their own health (and possibly just as an aside save any embarrassment at the airport being denied boarding) , how will travel insurers be allowed not to pay out as regardless of airline rules about sniffles or temperatures etc, the reason is not covid related.

Would a doctors certificate saying you are suffering from a medical condition and are advised bed rest (feeling unwell, cause unknown) suffice for a travel insurance claim?

The traveller has most likely no idea whatsoever if they have covid when the decision is made not to travel. The airline also does not know if you have covid and is denying you on a risk basis, not the fact you have it - and the airline will possibly be wrong in the vast majority of cases.
 
Last edited:

Gremlin

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There seems to be a few long bows being drawn to not pay out insurance claims with wording such as...

"Policies purchased after 23 March 2020 will not provide any cover for claims directly or indirectly arising from, relating to or in any way connected with COVID-19." [my bolding]

Long before covid was even a thing, people felt unwell with flu, upper respiratory or cold like symptoms or bad headaches (migraines) and didn't end up travelling on their paid ticket. Airlines also have denied boarding if they thought the passenger was too unwell or risks to travel for a variety of reasons (i.e. late in third trimester, oversized wheelchair).

If a traveller is feeling unwell and thinks they might have the 'flu' and decide not to travel for their own health (and possibly just as an aside save any embarrassment at the airport being denied boarding) , how will travel insurers be allowed not to pay out as regardless of airline rules about sniffles or temperatures etc, the reason is not covid related.

Would a doctors certificate saying you are suffering from a medical condition and are advised bed rest (feeling unwell, cause unknown) suffice for a travel insurance claim?

The traveller has most likely no idea whatsoever if they have covid when the decision is made not to travel. The airline also does not know if you have covid and is denying you on a risk basis, not the fact you have it - and the airline will possibly be wrong in the vast majority of cases.
Epidemics and pandemics are almost universally excluded from travel insurance covers. Hence the statement you've quoted. If you were to knowingly travel after that date you wouldn't be covered for travel interruption or COVID-related medical costs under most policies.

If a traveller feels unwell and chooses not to travel without seeking medical advice then they are very unlikely to be able to claim under insurance. If a doctor advises them not to travel due to a respiratory condition, I think there'd be a very good chance the insurer, under the terms of a current policy, would require proof that it wasn't COVID in order to pay out a claim.

Whilst airlines denying boarding has happened in the past, there is a real risk that the likelihood of this happening will be much greater going forward. The CMO has told us that the days of lots of people soldiering into work with a cold or flu-like symptoms now needs to be no more. I'm equally sure that in the past lots of people have also sat down on a plane, popped a couple of Codral and just gotten to where they needed to go. If this practice is going to be stopped and, as a community, we expect insurance to cover it, then the cost of insurance will necessarily rise pretty steeply.

Ultimately, I think insurers will probably land on a few different levels of cover. First, a premium one which includes COVID medical cover, COVID-based travel interruptions and any interruptions due to fever/upper respiratory illness. Second, a mid-tier policy which might cover COVID medical and interruptions due to fever/upper respiratory illness, but exclude COVID-based travel interruptions. Finally, a basic cover which would look similar to travel insurance of 2019 where all pandemic-related complications are excluded. But they will be priced accordingly.
 

Daver6

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In a similar vain, what happens if internal border restrictions prevent one from travelling. Who covers that cost?

Eg, booked well before Covid-19, MrsDaver6 and I have a few days in Darwin (PER based) for some R&R. WA state borders are closed still and we're told they will be for some time. What happens if come August they're still closed?

Currently if you need to travel interstate you can get an exemption if you meet certain criteria for essential travel. Obviously we wouldn't. So I'd imagine if I turned up at the check-in counter, the QF staff (I would hope/expect) would want to see my travel exemption documentation. Not producing it I'd expect to be denied boarding. However, given this was purchased prior to Covid-19, could I reasonable expect a refund? What about accommodation costs?

Perhaps this is a topic for a different thread, so mods, feel free to move it.
 

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