Knowing how to prep for travel after pandemic woes

Airline passengers line up for check-in at the airport.

The Omicron variant was the spanner in the works of the Australian airline industry’s hopes for recovery in 2022. With airline staff forced into isolation as close contacts or positive cases, and consumer confidence in travel significantly degraded, January 2022 saw the industry operating at a mere 50% of its pre-COVID-19 capacity.

Before the shift back to restrictions, state borders were reopening and airline staff were dusting-off their uniforms, eager to take off in 2022 with increased seating capacity on domestic flights. It was, after all, the Christmas holiday period, and people were on the move. 

In fact, scheduled capacity reached 95% of pre-pandemic levels in the week of Christmas 2021, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). But as we’ve come to learn, in a pandemic things don’t always go to schedule. Airlines were forced to pull the plug on hundreds of flights as passengers and staff were sent into isolation, severely halting the upward trajectory of passenger numbers from 17% (of pre-COVID levels) in October, to 47% in December. 

According to the ACCC, the Qantas Group blames the Omicron wave for a 6 month setback on their recovery, with competitor, Virgin, recording a 25% reduction in their scheduled capacity over January and February 2022. 

It’s been a harsh reality of late but maybe we can learn something from this and be better prepared next time. With so many flights having been cancelled, and the potential for the same to happen again, how can you save yourself from the headaches of flight cancellations and travel delays, due to COVID-19?

Travel insurance and COVID-19

In most cases, travel insurance providers usually list epidemics and pandemics as a general exclusion to their policies. What this means is that if you want to make a claim on one of your policy benefits, which resulted in connection with an epidemic or pandemic, then your policy provider may refuse to cover that claim. 

The reason that general exclusions, especially those linked to disease outbreaks, exist is that the risk is often too high for them to cover safely. General exclusions can be found in a policy’s product disclosure statement (PDS), which is why we always stress that you read through your PDS. While some general exclusions may appear obvious, there are some which might take you by surprise. So, make sure you know what you’re signing up for, as insurance providers expect you to be aware of their conditions, exclusions, and limitations. 

However, due to the current pandemic’s reluctance to leave us be, some providers have added limited cover for COVID-19 related events in their travel insurance policies. At the time of writing, these cover inclusions are usually subject to the Australian Government’s Smartraveller warnings. If your destination is subject to a ‘Reconsider your need to travel’ or ‘Do not travel’ warning, or if a government authority restricts border access, then you are less likely to be covered under your travel insurance policy for any insured events. 

The two main kinds of Covid-related cover currently on offer can include: 

  • Cover for nonrefundable trip expenses or reasonable costs to reschedule or rearrange your trip
  • Overseas medical expenses (including emergency repatriation/ evacuation) if you or your travelling companion is diagnosed with Covid.

Compare travel insurance 

If you’re still looking at going on a trip in 2022, then there’s a good chance you’ll be thinking about finding yourself a travel insurance policy. After all, if you can’t afford travel insurance, then you can’t afford to travel. Have a look at some of the policies on offer below.

Travel insurance comparisons on Mozo - last updated 17 May 2022

Search promoted travel insurance below. Advertiser disclosure Important information on terms, conditions and sub-limits.
  • Comprehensive
    covid medical cover
    Yes
    covid cancellation cover
    Yes
    overseas hospital
    Unlimited
    cancellation cover
    Unlimited

    Get peace of mind with Fast Cover with worldwide 24 hour emergency assistance. Enjoy cover for emergency medical and hospital expenses. Get cover for cancellation costs as well as for luggage and personal belongings. No medical assessments required. 25 day money back guarantee. Cancellation cover for COVID claims limited to $5,000.

    Details
  • Top
    covid medical cover
    Yes
    covid cancellation cover
    Yes
    overseas hospital
    Unlimited
    cancellation cover
    Unlimited

    Be covered for international overseas and medical expenses. Emergency medical assistance 24 hours/365 days a year. Cover for cancellation fees and lost deposits. Cover for luggage and personal money. Dependents covered free of charge (conditions apply). Limited COVID cover available. Cancellation cover for COVID claims limited to $3,500.

    Details
  • Comprehensive
    covid medical cover
    Yes
    covid cancellation cover
    Yes
    overseas hospital
    Unlimited
    cancellation cover
    $5,000 optional to increase to $Unlimited

    Backed by the NIB, one of Australia’s largest travel insurance providers, Travel Insurance Saver brings you peace of mind on your travels. Compare three tiers of insurance cover, featuring benefits like 24 hour emergency assistance, emergency medical cover, luggage cover, cancellation cover and more.

    Details

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