Australian residents who venture overseas with Emirates may now be protected by the airline’s blanket COVID-19 medical and quarantine cover, with the airline tweaking the Terms and Conditions of its ‘Emirates COVID-19 Assistance’ service.
When launched last week, the service promised to pick up the tab for a traveller’s overseas medical care and quarantine costs in the event of a positive diagnosis for COVID-19 – but this was subject to a hefty list of restrictions, which effectively barred any Australian resident from receiving a benefit.
Among those exceptions, travellers were excluded if they “travel against (their) home country’s government advice.”
As the Australian Government continues to apply a “do not travel” warning to every country in the world (amid a separate overarching ‘travel ban’), this previously invalidated the cover: but this clause has now been withdrawn from Emirates’ Terms and Conditions.
Under this week’s revisions, the policy instead excludes Emirates passengers who “travel to a destination in violation of a travel ban issued by the government of (their) home country or a travel ban issued by a local authority at (their) destination … unless such government or authority has provided exceptional permission for such travel.”
For those with permission from the Australian Government to travel overseas – granted by way of a Border Force ‘travel exemption’ – this change appears to no longer exclude these travellers from Emirates’ COVID-19 cover.
The text also states that “a travel ban does not include travel advice issued by such government or authority (for example, advice against all but essential travel to a destination),” making the “do not travel” advice no longer an issue in itself.
Some exclusions still apply to Emirates' COVID-19 cover
Any expenses incurred in a traveller’s home country continue to be excluded from this offering, as do any costs relating to blanket quarantine measures that may be in place for all passengers arriving into a destination or having taken a particular flight.
For example, travellers facing mandatory 14-day quarantine upon arrival into Australia would still need to cover those costs themselves, as this is a blanket quarantine measure (and for Australian residents, would also be an expense incurred in their home country, being a separate exclusion).
Other exclusions continue to apply, including for expenses that arise as a “direct or indirect consequence of your consumption of alcohol.”
Emirates’ policy change follows a critical review of the airline’s COVID-19 cover published by Executive Traveller last week, which highlighted that no Australian resident would qualify for that cover, given the exclusions previously in place regarding travelling against government advice.