As major airlines across the world continue to halt flights and ground aircraft due to the coronavirus, one budget carrier has gone for a very different and rather divisive approach to the global pandemic.
Vietnamese airline Vietjet has launched an insurance policy named “SKY COVID CARE” that allows passengers to claim up to 200 million Vietnamese dong (around $8,465) if they are infected with the virus while traveling on one of its flights.
The aim of the policy, which is free of charge and covers all domestic flights between March 23 and June 30, 2020, is to help “bring passengers assurance,” according to the airline.
In an official statement, Vietjet says it’s prepared to pay out “tens of billion dong” to ensure that its customers feel at ease while traveling during the ongoing crisis.
“The health safety of passengers and cabin crews are protected at the highest level against all risks of disease,” reads the statement on Vietjet’s official website.
“With the insurance, passengers are eligible for insurance coverage and benefits from Vietjet within 30 days starting at 00:01 of the flight date, regardless of how passengers are infected with the disease.”
Infection pay out
To be eligible for the coverage, customers need to provide “all information in accordance with Vietjet’s terms and conditions” while booking tickets as well as “comply with all regulations on disease prevention and control of Vietjet, the Ministry of Health and authorities.”
This rules out anyone who has already tested positive for the virus or has breached any regulations such as travel bans or recommended quarantine, stipulated by Vietnam’s Ministry of Health or any other government authorities.
Those with “epilepsy or mental illness” are also ineligible along with anyone who submits incorrect personal information.
To make a claim, passengers must provide proof that they’ve tested positive for coronavirus (subject to a test approved by the Ministry of Health of Vietnam) and evidence they were treated “at a hospital or at authorized medical camps located in the territory of Vietnam.”
As of March 25, Vietnam’s Ministry of Health has confirmed a total of 134 cases in the Southeast Asian nation.
This isn’t the first time the airline, which flies to around 13 domestic destinations and seven international destinations, has caused controversy.
In 2012, Vietjet was fined 40 million dong (around $1,700) by the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) for “posing a safety risk to the flight” after a group of beauty contestants wearing bikini-tops performed a dance on board one of its planes without authorization.
While many countries have restricted flights from abroad, Vietnam has yet to seal its borders to international aviation, although it has barred entry for certain nationalities.