A recent hullaballoo that transpired at Cebu Pacific saw droves of stranded passengers, some of whom chose to stay at the terminal for days, resulting from cancelled flights that lasted for two weeks.

Consequently, the Cebu Pacific office in NAIA Terminal 3 located in Pasay City, Philippines was swarmed with frustrated and angry passengers who were affected by the onset of flight cancellations. This included Filipino-Australians whose annual leaves and quick work or school breaks were affected.

The Philippines’ largest budget airline operator stated that the amalgamation of “heavy traffic” and “damaged aircrafts” were the primary reasons for the cancellation. It also did not deny the possibility of pilot resignations having taken place previously, but did not disclose its full scope.

While the potential biggest damage of the situation is accrued and will subsequently be taken into account by Cebu Pacific, it is equally cumbersome to stranded Overseas Filipino Workers like Vivien Cutayan who feared losing her employment in another country if she did not make the flight.

Cutayan herself, in fact, was among the worst hit. Without travel insurance, she was forced to shell out another expense for a ticket back to her home city in Cagayan de Oro. That was a difficult option but was significantly better than having to wait 15 days for a flight to Dubai. Yet, this would have been easier on her if she had travel insurance.

A quintessential travel companion

Managing Director of Philippine Tours, Virginia Kalong reckons that the cost of travel insurance is less expensive considering the peace of mind while one is away. “With my 35 years’ experience in the travel industry, I have witnessed the necessity of having an insurance cover. Not that we are anticipating to use it but nothing beats the peace of mind for your own sake and for your family not having to worry for you. With emergencies, your travel insurance provider will be assisting from day one.”

She also explained the coverage of travel insurance to include sickness, accident, loss of baggage/passport and missed connection. It should also be noted that insurance covers involuntary changes to one’s flights (such as cancellations). For those with previous illnesses, a medical assessment might be conducted, and for not very serious ones, a phone interview could accomplish this.

Meanwhile, Reliance Partners Insurance Broker, Joel Reyes, shares the importance of travel insurance and why people should opt for it whenever they go on a travel.

“People often think travel insurance is only useful when you lose items on your trip, like luggage at the airport. But travel insurance covers all aspects of the trip from lost items, to cancelled flights and even emergency evacuation when required,” said Reyes.

When asked whether travel insurance is only for long-term travels or not, Reyes says, “Either on a short or a long trip, the risks are still the same. You can lose your passport at any time, you can get sick at any time, you can have a flight cancelled, or even have boarding issues whilst you are at the airport.”

Reyes said the best travel insurance coverage should include the following: “loss of luggage and personal effects cover; high, if not unlimited medical expenses cover; emergency evacuation cover; loss of documents/credit card cover; rental vehicle insurance excess; and minimal or nil excess options.”


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