Canada’s Major Airline Offering Free Covid-19 Health Insurance To International Travellers

In a desperate bid to get Canadian travelers to go abroad once again, Canada’s biggest airline, Air Canada, is offering passengers free Covid-19 medical insurance, even as the Canadian government continues to advise against non-essential travel.

Air Canada announced that it will now be including complimentary COVID-19 emergency medical and quarantine insurance for eligible passengers who book round-trip international flights. The coverage will be available for new bookings made in Canada from September 17 until October 31, 2020. The airline hopes that the free insurance will give customers added confidence when booking flights and travelling abroad.

“At Air Canada, we know people have personal, family and business reasons to travel. To give them greater confidence as they do so, we have engaged Manulife to offer all Canadian residents complimentary COVID-19 emergency medical & quarantine insurance when they book round-trip flights for travel outside of Canada. Combined with our industry leading airport and onboard biosafety protocols, including Air Canada CleanCare+, and our flexible rebooking policies, customers can be assured that when they book and travel with Air Canada their safety and well-being is our top priority,” said Lucie Guillemette, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer at Air Canada in the press release.

The plan (called the Manulife COVID-19 Emergency Medical Certificate of Insurance) is available only for new international, round-trip bookings made in Canada between September 17 and October 31, 2020, for travel completed by April 12, 2021. 

When abroad, if customers test positive for COVID-19, the Plan coverage includes:

  • Up to CDN $200,000 per insured for COVID-19 treatment medical expenses.
  • Up to CDN $150 per person for quarantine costs (meals + accommodation); Up to CDN $300 per family per day up to a maximum of 14 days.
  • Up to CDN $500 for expenses related to return home if the advisory from the Canadian government goes from Level 3 to Level 4 while at destination.

Air Canada says that the Plan is available to all Canadian residents, subject to eligibility requirements. The Plan is underwritten by The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company (“Manulife”), Canada’s largest provider of travel insurance. According to the press release, the Plan is “the most extensive geographical coverage included by a Canadian airline for Canadian residents, covering every international destination Air Canada serves.” For more details, please visit the website.

Air Canada has been struggling to interest Canadians in traveling internationally since the coronavirus pandemic came to light and the Canadian government instituted a mandatory 14-day quarantine to international travelers returning to the country. To drive up sales, on September 16, Air Canada launched a new Infinite Canada Flight Pass. The new pass is designed to give customers much more flexibility when booking domestic flights. For one flat fee, the new pass allows you to book travel without any blackout or booking restrictions, make changes or cancellations without penalty, and fly as often as you want for up to three months (depending on the duration of the pass).

Air Canada has continually urged the Canadian government to ease quarantine restrictions. In fact. Air Canada’s president and CEO Calin Rovinescu, suggested that much of the airline’s profit losses were the result of Canada’s “devastating and unprecedented…COVID-19 pandemic and government-imposed travel and border restrictions and quarantine requirements.” Rovinescu went on to note that “…Canada’s federal and inter-provincial restrictions have been among the most severe in the world.”

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