Airline promises travelers a free funeral if infected with COVID-19

Emirates says that they will handle funeral expenses if any passenger is infected on their flights

An Emirates plane is seen at Sydney Airport as racehorses exercise during a recovery session at Botany Bay on March 25, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

As COVID-19 continues to affect the travel industry airlines are looking for creative incentives to get passengers to fill their seats. But one airline is raising eyebrows after it decided to start offering to cover medical expenses – and even funeral costs – for any travelers infected during their flights.

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According to Forbes, Emirates Airlines’ new policies stipulate that if one of its passengers is diagnosed with COVID-19 during a trip taken with them, the Dubai-based carrier will cover their medical expenses, up to €150,000 – which comes out to approximately about $176,000 USD.

Emirates COVID-19 insurance travel thegrio.com
An Airbus A380-861 operated by Emirates takes off from JFK Airport on August 24, 2019 in the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

They will also cover $118 per day for quarantine costs such as a hotel room, for up to two weeks. And in worst-case scenarios, Emirates will also offer approximately $1,765 to a passenger’s loved ones to go towards funeral costs. 

This unconventional insurance policy is automatically activated with ticketing, effective immediately, and carries no additional fees for passengers.

Forbes writer Avi Dan opines, “The premise of insurance for medical bills or quarantine is brave. It’s bold and cuts to the heart of the reluctance to travel. It doesn’t skirt the emotions surrounding COVID-19 but tackles them head-on. However, the fact that the insurance includes death coverage could be problematic. It could encourage the kind of mental imagery that an airline normally wouldn’t want associated with its brand.”

Dan also notes that the key to the success of this unprecedented approach is in its execution, warning that if the policy is mishandled it could do irreversible harm to the company’s reputation.

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But given that on average airlines are only flying planes at 20-30% capacity and many times have to cancel flights to some airports entirely, this seems to be a risk that Emirates is willing to take if it’ll have a positive impact on their bottom line.

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