Free COVID-19 Travel Insurance Offered by Air Canada

A picture of a plan to denote Air Canada's free covid-19 travel insurance that is available for international travel.

Free COVID-19 travel insurance offered by Air Canada was in my email inbox today. It sounded interesting and I decided to take a closer look. In the email it said that if you book an international flight from now till the end of October 31, 2020, you will be eligible for this travel insurance which has been underwritten by Manulife.

So what is the purpose of this travel insurance promotion? Here’s what was said in the email, “We hope this new insurance, combined with Air Canada CleanCare+, our industry-leading biosafety measures, and our flexible change and cancellation policies, gives you peace-of-mind for your future international travel.” So what are the details of this coverage?

Free COVID-19 Travel Insurance Offered by Air Canada, Details

I clicked on the link in the email and was taken to Air Canada’s website where it had details of the travel insurance. The first thing I noticed was that the insurance would cover international travel up to April 12, 2021. It would cover emergency medical insurance and quarantine insurance due to COVID-19. This insurance is even offered to tickets booked with Aeroplan miles. What are some other requirements?

Other Eligibility Requirements

Here’s what was listed on the Air Canada’s website that was highlighted above:

-Passenger must be a Canadian resident with a valid provincial or territory government health insurance plan for the duration of the trip.

-Bookings including at least one Air Canada flight and on a new Air Canada ticket (code 014) issued between September 17, 2020 and October 31, 2020. You will qualify for coverage regardless of whether your first flight was operated by Air Canada or by one of Air Canada’s code share or interline partners so long as your booking was ticketed on Air Canada and includes at least one Air Canada flight (marketed or operated).

-Travel duration of up to 21 days.

-Travel must originate in Canada to any international destination (USA included) for which there is no Level-4 “avoid all travel” advisory in effect issued by the Canadian government at time of departure.

-There is no age restriction to be eligible for this coverage.

-Traveller must not be advised by a physician not to travel.

What Does the Free COVID-19 Insurance Cover?

Here’s what listed on the Air Canada website below:

CoverageLimit (CDN)
Medical Coverage after a COVID-19 positive test result in destinationUp to $200,000 CDN per insured
Quarantine expenses after a COVID-19 positive test result, denied entry or contact tracing in destination$150/day up to $2100 per person, or $300/day up to $4200 per family (Maximum duration of 14 days)
Emergency Air Transport to return you homeIncluded in $200,000 per insured
Repatriation due to deathUp to policy limits as outlined in the certificate of insurance
Level 3 Travel Advisory upgraded to Level 4 Travel Advisory by Canadian GovernmentUp to a combined $500 per person for: *return airfare* meals and accommodations

What’s Not Covered?

There are a few things Air Canada lists that it doesn’t cover as listed below:

-Travel booked for periods longer than 21 days (the entire trip is not eligible).

-Travel beyond April 12, 2021.

-Tickets purchased from another airline, even if that airline is a code-share partner airline of Air Canada, regardless of whether the flight is operated by Air Canada.

-Travel during your cruise dates, or any expenses related to your cruise.

-One-way tickets.

-Air Canada Vacations bookings are not eligible as they are subject to a separate complimentary COVID-19 insurance coverage and policy. More details here.

-Residents of any other country aside from Canada.

A Couple Areas of Caution regarding this new travel insurance

The insurance seems pretty good but I noticed a couple areas of caution. The first is in the travel advisory, where it says as long as the Canadian government has not deemed the place you are travelling to a level 4. However, the Canadian government has deemed all travel outside Canada a level 3 which means that we should avoid all non essential travel. What happens if the government changes the level of the place you are visiting to level 4? There is some coverage up to $500 for airfare, meals and accommodation. Is there any thing else? Also, what if this changes before you leave for your destination?

This also brings up the issue of should we even be travelling in the first place if the Canadian government says that there should not be any non essential travel. Is planning a trip to Europe for example essential? It is an interesting question for us to ponder.

The second thing to think about is the duration you are allowed. The insurance covers travel period of 21 days or less. If it is longer than 21 days, then the entire trip is not covered. This is tricky considering that many countries have a required 14 day quarantine period for people entering their country. If that is the case, your trip is essentially cut down to one week. That is a tight window. And what happens if there are delays at the airport and you are delayed for a day or two and you end up longer than 21 days? These are things to think about before making the decision that is right for you and your family.

Conclusion

The free COVID-19 travel insurance offered by Air Canada sounds interesting. However, as with anything, it is the details that matter. And so it is important to inform yourself as much as possible and weigh the pros and cons. Because at the end of the day, it is not only a trip you are considering but you are weighing the risks to your health. And that is a decision that should never be taken lightly. Stay safe everyone.

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Is it Safe to Fly Again During Coronavirus Covid-19?

A picture of people in airport to pose question is it safe to fly again during coronavirus covid 19

Is it safe to fly again during the coronavirus Covid-19? I was looking through my emails and saw an email from West Jet titled “Safety Above All”. I decided to click on it and the email highlighted all the measures they are taking to ensure safety for their customers during Covid-19.

Is it Safe To Fly Again During Coronavirus Covid-19? West Jet’s safety Measures

Check-in – Their website states that their check-in will be similar as before. The change is that they will be wiping counters down with disinfectant between customers. There will also be more room between customers in line and the agents will be wearing masks. Also customers will be handling their own luggage. The website also highlights downloading their app to limit contact with surfaces during your journey.

Boarding – West Jet’s website states that Transport Canada requires everyone over the age of 2 years old to wear a face covering throughout your travel. The covering can be a non medical face mask or scarf. Regarding West Jet’s boarding policy here are the highlights of it below:

Boarding requirements policy

Health questionnaire

  • In compliance with Transport Canada regulations, to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19), we require all guests to respond to a heath questionnaire at the time of boarding.
  • We urge guests to respond truthfully as providing false or misleading information could result in a $5,000 fine under the Aeronautics Act.

Symptom screening

  • We will conduct non-contact temperature checks at all airports
  • If you are displaying COVID-19 symptoms, or feeling unwell, you cannot board a flight.
    • If you have a medical condition which presents symptoms similar to those of COVID-19, you will need a doctor’s note or medical certificate that states your medical condition to board the flight.

Denied boarding

  • If you have been ordered by provincial or territorial government or local public health to self-isolate or quarantine you will be denied boarding.
  • If you are denied boarding for a domestic flight, we will rebook you to travel at least 14 days after the original date.
    • To travel earlier, a valid medical certificate stating that you not affected by the COVID-19 virus is required.
  • Guests denied boarding for repatriation flights will not be re-accommodated.

During Flight – West Jet indicates they are limiting seating to ensure more space between passengers during flights. Their website also says that families who are travelling together can sit together. For flights over 90 minutes, there will be a bottle of water and a snack at your seat as you board the flight. Regarding flight attendants, they will be wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) and masks suited to their roles. 

Is it Safe to Fly Again During Coronavirus Covid-19? Cleaning Procedures

Cleaning – This is probably the area of most concern for travelers when flying and West Jet has a detailed procedure from their website below:

Upon Boarding

We’ll give you a sanitization wipe for your hands or any surface you wish to wipe down, for your peace of mind.

On board

We now clean our aircraft more extensively and more frequently. We continue to clean with aviation-approved products, including Sanicide (disinfectant) for galleys and lavatories, along with Celeste 8500 for:

  • tray tables
  • general seating areas
  • to ensure all guest contact surfaces are thoroughly disinfected

We’ve added two additional disinfecting products to our cleaning regime–hospital-grade Clorox Wipes and Spray for:

  • galleys
  • lavatories and door handles
  • tray tables
  • seat armrests and headrests
  • seatbelt buckles
  • PSU panel
  • Overhead-bin door latches

Fogging

The entire aircraft interior is completely disinfected using a hydrogen peroxide-based solution cleaner. Fogging allows us to thoroughly disinfect our aircraft at any time, with little disruption to our guests and operations. The new process takes approximately 15 minutes to complete and the product dissipates within 20 minutes. We’re working hard to ensure fogging can be expanded to every base we operate to as soon as possible. All WestJet 737 and Q400 aircraft are cleaned as part of their overnight cleaning and sanitization regimen. 

HEPA filters

All WestJet aircraft are equipped with an industry-leading air circulation system containing a HEPA filter, similar to what’s used in hospitals.

Not only do these filters introduce fresh air into the cabin every 2 to 3 minutes, but they also capture and filter 99.99% of all airborne particles so you can breathe a little easier.

Is it Safe To Fly Again During Coronavirus Covid-19? Conclusion

The safety measures West Jet has taken is extensive and it appears a great deal of of thought and research has gone into developing them. So is it safe to fly again during the Coronavirus pandemic? For me the answer is still no. Even though these procedures are in place, they have not been tested to ensure they keep everyone safe. In my mind to fly now would mean that I would be the Guinea pig to see if these procedures work or not. Some might say that it is worth the risk and that is their choice. In fact, I’m sure a lot of people will decide to give air travel a try again.

However, for my family the risk is too high. The reality is that we are in a once in a generation pandemic in which there is no cure or vaccine as of yet. And worldwide, COVID cases are still growing. Not only would I be concerned about the actual air travel, but also getting stuck somewhere else if a lockdown was called again.

Will I travel again? Of course! But until the world gets a handle on Covid-19 or there is a reliable vaccine, my travel will be limited. Stay safe!

**Update Regards to Seating as of July 1, 2020**

Both Air Canada And West Jet will be offering every seat for sale on their flights as of July 1, 2020. This will end their physical distancing measures on their flights. As a result many people who booked flights with the airlines are now demanding refunds as they felt misled to believe that there would be no one in the middle seat. Regarding if this step is safe, here’s a quote from a recent CTV article below:

While Transport Canada recommends physical distancing on flights to prevent the spread of COVID-19, it’s not law.

“On WestJet’s website, the airline states that they decided to end the blocking off of adjacent seats because they are following the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) guidance for global health and safety.

They say IATA’s guidelines support removing physical distancing because they are already providing other protections against the virus, such as HEPA filters to clean recirculated air, airflow being directed up instead of forward or backward, and “the physical barrier of seat backs.”

The IATA, Lukacs pointed out, is not a health organization, but an airline association, which he says is serving the financial interests of airlines.”

Is it Safe to Fly Again During Coronavirus, Updated Conclusion

To sum things up, Coronavirus is very contagious and unpredictable. However, the one thing we know is that physical distancing is a strong defense against the virus. Especially if you are inside a building or an enclosed area for any length of time. In my opinion, the airlines are playing Russian Roulette with solely focusing on short term financial gain at the cost of long term pain. It is a risky proposition because more people can become sick. Also, there is more chance to keep spreading the virus all over the country and beyond.

Think about, how did covid-19 get here? It got here from flights, so logically the first line of defense to slow the spread is to put strong safety measures on flights. Air Canada’s and West Jet’s decisions to allow seating in the middle seat does not do that at all. And that is why I will not be flying anytime soon. Stay safe.

How to Have Your Dream Vacation on the Cheap?

The colosseum in Rome to show a dream vacation location

How to have a dream vacation on the cheap? The obvious answer is that you don’t! Sure there are those all inclusive deals you see advertise all the time but to go somewhere truly exotic, historical or cultured it is going to be expensive. So, do I find a cheaper location to go to? Perhaps, but there are ways to save that can help you still have that dream vacation that you have always wanted. Here are three tips to help you below.

Travel Off Season, on Your Dream Vacation!

This one seems obvious but you would be surprised how many people do not do it. However, that has a big cost and it could be the difference between having a dream vacation or not. For example, I went to Tuscany in November which is low season for Italy. The weather was cooler and there was a bit of rain. However, the savings was huge! The loft apartment my wife and I stayed was 50 Euros a night. In high season which is the summer months, the same place was 250 Euros a night. Just think of the savings! One week(seven nights) in Tuscany costed me 350 Euros as oppose to 1750 Euros in high season. And the place I stayed at was awesome as it was overlooking an olive grove in the Tuscan countryside. Travelling off season can save you a ton of money!

Cook Your Own Meals and Save!

I know a lot of people will say, “who wants to cook their meals while they are on their dream vacation?” I get that but to eat out everyday for every meal is really expensive! For example, if my wife and I ate out every meal for a week in Europe and tried to find cheap places to eat, we will still be paying upwards of 100 Euros a night at the very least. However, if our accommodation had a kitchenette or stove, and we cooked our own meals than we will be paying around 100 Euros a week. That’s a massive savings! Also, if you want go out for a romantic meal out, you can splurge on it and still come out ahead and you will have that special memory to boot. It’s a win, win!

Look for Free or Low Cost Activities

This seems impossible and at first look you are right because all the attractions at your dream location usually have costs. However, there are free or low costs options out there which can lower you expenses significantly. For example, when my wife and I were in London a while ago, we were pleasantly surprised to find out that all the major museums in London are for free! These were not second rate museums, but some of the best the world has to offer. It was an incredible experience and it was all free.

Avoid Tourists Traps

It is easier said than done but the reality is that any store, restaurant, business, or shop near an attraction is a tourist trap and you will pay a lot more then you should. So, you need to do some research and venture away from these locations and you will save yourself money. For example, when my wife and I were in London, we were looking to buy a cheap throw away phone for our trip. We were staying in a tourist area and the store that was selling phones were charging 40 pounds. I decided to do some research and found a store two miles away. The store had the same phone for five pounds! Avoiding the tourist traps as much as you can will be a big savings.

Conclusion, Your Dream Vacation is possible!

Yes your dream vacation is possible. With a little planning and finding a few alternatives here and there, you can do it! Yes, there are a few sacrifices you might have to make to get there, being going off season, cooking your own meals, looking for free or low cost options and avoiding tourist traps. But the benefits far out weigh the costs. So start planning that dream vacation and have memories that will last a life time. Save travels my friends!

You Might Also Like: https://bargainblog.ca/10-ways-to-save-money-on-rent-saving-on-apartments-and-condos/

June 3/18 – Bargain of the Day – Travel – Air Transat to Europe

European Travel Deals from AIR TRANSAT

Am I the only one who dreams of walking down cobblestones, and basking in the sun while overlooking a castle on the hill? (Oops – trust me when I say that my voice is NOWHERE near as soothing as Ed Sheeran’s! And minus the groovy accent too.)

Right…if you’re longing for a quick European getaway or even a major dream-come-true adventure – well, Air Transat has some terrific options right now.

Travel from Toronto from Paris for $685

Travel from Montreal to Paris for $691

Travel from Toronto to London for $703

Travel from Toronto to Barcelona for $718

These are just a smattering of the deals to be had for the next couple of days only. Visit www.airtransat.com and book by June 5 for the ultimate deals!! If you have a chance to go — have an amazing time!