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Business travel health jitters: Travel managers and Airlines doing their best to allay fears

Business travelers are looking for leadership from their companies to ensure health is a priority during travel. UAE airlines are playing an increasingly bigger role in this aspect

65% of business travelers place ensuring their health and safety while traveling as the most important 45% say they would ask to limit or reduce travel in their current position while 10% would search for a new position Etihad Airways is introducing COVID-19 global wellness insurance cover

A new survey shows business travelers look to employers to implement new health and safety measures.

Has the UAE covered its basis when it comes to inbound travel and are UAE airlines doing their part to ensure travelers’ safety in and out of the country?

Survey: Business travelers  

Business travel came to a standstill in early 2020 but businesses and their employees are now thinking about what the “new normal” will look like once they receive the green light to hit the road again.

New research fielded by SAP Concur in May-June 2020 looks into business travelers’ concerns and expectations post-COVID-19. It shows that health and safety are top-of-mind among employees. 

65% of business travelers place ensuring their health and safety while traveling as the most important and in their top three considerations. 

Top concerns about returning to business travel also include infecting their families (55%) and getting sick themselves (53%).

45% said they find the actual trip the most stressful stage, a 50% increase from last year.  

Additionally, business travelers hold themselves most accountable to protect their health and safety once travel starts again (36%). However, they also are looking to their employer to protect their health and safety (18%).

The SAP Concur survey found that among travel manager respondents, 96% reported that their company was not fully prepared to manage evolving travel demands during the outbreak. 

If companies don’t adapt to the new normal, 65% of business travelers say they intend to take some action. 

45% say they would ask to limit or reduce travel in their current position while 10% would search for a new position within their company that does not require travel and 8% would search for a position at a different company. 

Travel managers should look at their current travel policy and make updates to fit the current situation, such as what the company will consider essential travel as compared to what can be done online. 

39% of business travelers say they consider limiting business travel to only the most business-critical trips as vital for their company to implement when travel resumes.  

Health checks and personal protective equipment (PPE) for employees.  39% of business travelers believe this is an important measure companies should take.  

It’s vital for travel managers to know where employees are during business trips so they can communicate with them should an incident occur.  

Read: The UAE is serious about personal protective equipment

UAE preparedness for inbound and outbound travel

The UAE stated that all travelers over the age of 11 must have valid travel insurance that covers international healthcare

Travelers are also required to provide negative results from a Covid-19 PCR test taken no more than 96 hours before arrival. 

Inbound travelers need to download The Covid-19 DXB App where they will register their trip, as well as critically important health details, including a ‘Health Declaration Form’ that is required to be completed and submitted before entry to the UAE.  

The app will also grant direct communication to local health authorities should a traveler develop symptoms during their trip.

All travelers to Dubai, including passengers with a connecting flight, must complete this health declaration form and give it to the staff at check-in. This form will also be available at check-in.

If a tourist follows the above advice, brings their negative PCR test with them, and has no symptoms upon arrival, then there is no mandatory testing or quarantine period.  

Read: How COVID-19 made us health, environment, and cost-conscious

Major UAE airlines’ safety measures 

Etihad Airways is introducing COVID-19 global wellness insurance cover, in partnership with AXA, as part of Etihad Wellness, the airline’s new health and hygiene program.

Guests who are diagnosed with COVID-19 during their trip won’t have to worry about medical expenses or quarantine costs when they fly with Etihad.

All Etihad tickets regardless of the date of booking, traveling between now and 31 December 2020 will include COVID-19 insurance. The insurance is valid worldwide for 31 days from the first day of travel.  

If an Etihad Airways traveler is diagnosed with COVID-19 while away from home, COVID-19 global wellness insurance will cover them up to EUR150K of medical costs and up to EUR100 a day of quarantine costs in case of a positive diagnosis for 14 days.

Emirates Airlines has committed to cover COVID-19 related medical expenses, free of cost, should travelers be diagnosed with COVID-19 during their travel, while they are away from home. This cover is immediately effective for customers flying on Emirates until 31 October 2020 (first flight to be completed on or before 31 October 2020), and is valid for 31 days from the moment they fly the first sector of their journey. 

This means Emirates customers can continue to benefit from the added assurance of this cover, even if they travel onwards to another city after arriving at their Emirates destination. 

Emirates has implemented a comprehensive set of measures at every step of the customer journey to ensure the safety of its customers and employees on the ground and in the air, including the distribution of complimentary hygiene kits containing masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, and antibacterial wipes to all customers.