Picture yourself being stranded at the airport terminal after yet another lengthy flight delay. You're sitting at the gate area with hundreds of irritated, cranky passengers looking for a way to make time fly by. Behind you, a pack of anxious passengers shout restlessly into their phones in an effort to make themselves heard over the overwhelming cacophony, while those to your left chat boisterously with their new found companions, bonding over the injustice and emotional anguish that this delay has inflicted upon them. Up ahead, a more vocal minority crowd around the customer service counter for their opportunity to take their frustrations out on the hapless airline representative. For most of us, this picture is far removed from the ideal airport experience that we would desire.
Suddenly, as your mind begins to drift, a light bulb switches on in your head. While it probably won't make all your problems disappear, wouldn't it be awesome if you could somehow receive compensation for these wasted hours at the airport terminal? With AirCare, Berkshire Hathaway's revolutionary low-cost travel insurance product, you're in luck. This product, which is a part of the Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection (BTHP) line, is designed with travelers, travel agencies, tour operators, and travel suppliers in mind. Should you encounter a scenario like the one described above, AirCare will ensure that you're taken care of. By providing an immediate insurance payout, AirCare will provide you with the means to salvage a less-than-ideal travel experience, allowing you to enjoy a hot meal, access the airport's high speed Wi-Fi network, or enter one of the airport's tranquil oases, where you can have your cake and eat it too. To find out more about lounges you can access at a particular airport, be sure to check out the LoungeBuddy App.
Are There Any Catches To This?
As long as you are at least 18 years old, you can purchase the AirCare travel insurance product on a domestic US trip for a flat fee of $34. This insurance covers a number of scenarios, ranging from simple inconveniences to major disturbances that make you want to blow a gasket or two. From lengthy flight delays to misplaced luggage, you are in good hands with AirCare. As an additional perk, the flat fee will allow you to utilize MyAssist, a concierge and personal assistant service that helps you out with rebooking and rescheduling during flight cancellations. Be sure, however, to make your AirCare purchase at least an hour before your flight's departure.
As with most programs, there is an exception, and AirCare's eligibility rules are no different. If your flight has already been delayed, or if there are inclement weather conditions at your departure city or destination, you will be unable to purchase AirCare. Once your transaction is complete, the insurance company will take the initiative to track your flight, so that you can rest comfortably with one less item on your list to worry about. If you happen to encounter a flight delay or missed connection during your trip, your bank account will be credited immediately. For other scenarios, the compensation process can take a bit longer.
How Can I Purchase AirCare?
There are two ways to go about purchasing AirCare coverage for your trip. The first is relatively straightforward. Simply visit this page, follow the instructions, enter your flight and purchase information, and you're set. Alternatively, you can download BTHP's app, which is currently available for iOS on the Apple App Store and Android on the Google Play Store.
If you choose to download the app, all it takes is one click to open it up, and you'll be directed to the screen below.
Once you're here, press on "Get A Quote," and you should be redirected to the following screen, pictured below.
Once you're on this next screen, all you have to do is enter in your flight and purchase information, and you should be ready to go. If you haven't done so already, keep in mind that you'll have to register for a free Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection account, which you can utilize for all your future purchases.
Am I Eligible For AirCare?
Currently, AirCare is available in almost every state in the US (not yet valid in Alaska). However, Berkshire Hathaway has been working hard to overcome these limitations, and it seems that it will only be a matter of time before AirCare is available in all 50 states (and even internationally).
The following is a list of the different scenarios that AirCare covers and their associated payouts:
|Flight Delay of 2+ Hours||$50|
|Missed Connecting Flight Due To Flight Delay||$250|
|Checked Baggage Delay Of 12+ Hours||$500|
|2+ Hour Tarmac Delay||$1000|
|2+ Hour Tarmac Delay and Missed Connecting Flight||$1500|
Changing the Travel Insurance Industry
While the insurance industry has made its mark on many aspects of modern life in America, the same could hardly be said when it comes to travel insurance. In stark contrast to medical, automobile, and homeowners' insurance products, which occupy a nearly omnipotent status in contemporary society, only around 9% of American travelers end up purchasing travel insurance, and the vast majority of these purchases are for international itineraries. Upon such an untouched landscape with so much potential for growth, Berkshire Hathaway looks to make their mark on the road not taken, as Robert Frost would put it. Analogous to eSurance's efforts in promoting the incorporation of technology to produce a better experience for insurance product consumers, Berkshire Hathaway looks to achieve something similar for air travel insurance with AirCare.
Ordinarily, when you purchase insurance, you would only be reimbursed for expenses that you have incurred to fix the problem: a cracked windshield, that large dent on the hood of your car, or your vacation home's flooded basement. If you purchase a renter's insurance policy that covers damages up to $50,000, for example, and you end up spending $35,000 to fix the damage, you would only receive $35,000 and not a penny more. With AirCare, you earn a lump sum of $1000 for lost and stolen luggage, regardless of your bag's carrying or book value. Therefore, if are unable to find your newly bought three piece luggage set, despite frantically pacing around the baggage claim area like a maniac for what seems like hours on end, you will receive the full amount of $1000. This remains the case even if the total cost of replacing this set and all items contained within comes out to $725.
AirCare's trailblazing presence in the travel insurance industry is, to put it simply, a game changer. By making travel insurance so affordable and easy to book, AirCare significantly increases its chances of taking off among a consumer base that is increasingly frustrated and skeptical of convoluted, expensive schemes. While most air travelers do not anticipate or plan for significant disruptions on their trip, the truth is that the stars misalign more frequently than you would think, and this is where AirCare comes into play. While AirCare does not profess to provide a cure for all your problems, it can be a priceless tool to help you make the best of a less-than-ideal situation.
To learn more about AirCare, please visit Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection's page here.