Airlines start selling in-flight insurance

By danwarne, November 3 2010
Airlines start selling in-flight insurance

If you’re a last-minute type, now you don’t even have to organise insurance in advance – you can just buy it on the plane.

British discount airline EasyJet is the first airline to start selling travel insurance alongside sandwiches and chips on the in-flight meal cart.

Passengers who buy the insurance, starting at £15.00 ($24.50) for a five day policy, are given a pack that has the policy wording and details on how to make claims if they need to.

EasyJet said in a statement that the ABTA Consumer Trends Survey had found that “at least 20 -30 people per flight” set off on their trip without insurance.

Although profit margins on insurance sold in-flight are likely to be higher than those sold online before a trip, it could be a valuable safeguard for people who meant to arrange it but forgot before setting off.

Australian man George Dobson, who had not purchased travel insurance, attracted widespread media coverage after he fell down a cliff in India in August 2009 and sustained critical injuries that resulted in him becoming quadriplegic.

He had neglected to buy travel insurance before leaving, and his family was forced to empty their bank accounts, max out their credit cards and run a public donation drive to raise the money to repatriate him to Australia.

Tragically, the part of the story that many Australians didn’t hear was that Dobson was not able to be stabilised in the Indian hospital and died before his family was able to arrange a med-evac flight for him. Med-evac flights can cost up to $250,000, and medical bills from foreign hospitals can run up to $1million or more.

Travellers who have forgotten to organise insurance before they leave can choose inflight from a five-day or 14-day adult single trip European policy which covers medical emergencies, loss of baggage and passport, personal accident and personal liability.

EasyJet’s insurance is provided by Mondial Assistance UK and is available on all UK outbound flights.

No airlines flying to/from Australia or domestically have announced plans to sell insurance in-flight yet.

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