VietJet Using Coronavirus To Sell Airline Tickets

Filed Under: Other Airlines

VietJet, which is a Vietnamese low cost carrier based in Hanoi, has a rather controversial promotion to get people onto their flights. Controversy is nothing new for this airline, as it’s the same airline that has had a bikini calendar, featuring their flight attendants.

VietJet offering insurance if you get coronavirus

VietJet is offering what they call “SKY COVID CARE” insurance — if you take a domestic flight on VietJet between March 23 and June 30, 2020, you’ll be eligible for insurance coverage and benefits in the event that you get COVID-19.

This will be valid for 30 days from your flight date, regardless of how you’re infected. Coverage will range from 20 million to 200 million VND (~855-8,555 USD).

To be eligible for the insurance coverage, the airline says that:

  • Passengers need to provide all information in accordance with VietJet’s “terms and conditions” when purchasing tickets and using aviation services
  • Passengers need to comply with all regulations on disease prevention and control of VietJet, the Ministry of Health, and authorities

How does VietJet explain this promotion?

As VietJet explains this policy, this is being offered with “the purpose to bring passengers assurance when flying on modern and comfortable aircraft with young and professional cabin crews.”

The airline notes that the health and safety of passengers and crew is “protected at the highest level against all risks of disease.”

Brilliant, or ridiculous and irresponsible?

Vietnam as a country has done fairly well controlling COVID-19 so far. The country “only” has 121 confirmed cases, and doesn’t have any confirmed deaths yet. Most of the recent cases have been from people who have traveled to Vietnam from elsewhere.

The country does have over 600 suspected cases, and more than 50,000 people are being monitored and quarantined, according to the health ministry.

Personally I don’t know what exactly the “mood” is in Vietnam at the moment, though to me this promotion seems highly irresponsible.

The airline suggests that the health and safety of passengers is protected “at the highest level against all risks of disease.”

Seriously? A fully loaded, extremely dense plane offers the highest level of protection against all risks and disease? Even compared, to, say, social distancing?

At least that’s my take as an American, given the situation we’re in at the moment. I’m doing what I can to social distance, and I know airlines are in a tough spot, but trying to encourage people to fly by downplaying the risk of COVID-19 seems highly irresponsible.

At least that’s my take…

What do you make of VietJet’s promotion?

(Tip of the hat to @jonostrower)

  1. Lucky, do not believe the numbers coming from countries like Vietnam. Myanmar has already learned that if you want to have a zero infection rate – do not test. The same goes with China. When Hong Kong has a higher rate of new cases than China with a population of 1.6B people, it is clearly a game of numbers.

  2. Most definitely irresponsible and inappropriate.

    But to give credit where credit is due… Vietnam has done a solid job at managing imported and local cases. A few weeks ago when one of the first cases emerged, the government essentially blockaded an entire village for two weeks. People were only allowed in, not out. The response, as unilateral and authoritarian as it may have seemed to the West, worked at containing possible community spread of the virus.

    Currently, all international arrivals are being sent to quarantine “camps” for two weeks. Once you land, you go straight to a military camp. No exceptions. While the situation on the ground certainly does not reflect the level of lockdowns adopted by other nations, the government has acted relatively quickly (albeit with a very heavy hand) and has managed the situation nimbly.

  3. I would let Vietnam handle its own issues and if it doesn’t work out then it’s on them.

    For us Americans to stand on our soapbox seems “highly irresponsible “ as we are hardly leading by example.

  4. Pete I agree, 3rd world s-hole USSA could maybe learn a thing or 2 from Vietnam, which is now a far more capitalist country than we are after what has taken place today. Unreal!!!

  5. Contagion is never just about the infected individuals: it’s also about everyone they encounter. That’s the fundamental reason why young people should behave even when coronavirus is not that lethal to them, and why we should avoid all non-essential travel at this moment.

    @davistev – the population comparison is not appropriate. China takes extreme measures to deal with the pandemic. You may argue they are authoritarian, but denying its effect on controlling contagion is unwise.

  6. @MKLDH
    Let’s not conveniently forget that the reason it spiraled out of control, was because the very same authoritarian government stopped a good doctor from warning the public.

  7. These idiotic scheme isn’t covered much in global media yet and needs to be.

    Several countries are offering insurance that pays once you test positive. Some as an add-on, some as a new product.
    As with this VietJet insurance. These policies give incentive for people to get infected. If you take out a policy large enough, then the risk & reward becomes in favor of getting infected. Once people has the interest of getting infected then measurements by the government to stop the spread becomes pointless.

    WHO and foreign governments need to condemn these greedy insurers and policy holders, FAST.

  8. @David

    Let’s not conveniently forget that it was the local government that spiraled it out of control, once Beijing intervened it becomes a much different story, still under censorship but much much better.
    Under central government, Wuhan was under lockdown in matter of days. Let’s count how many more days before a lockdown, not ineffective stay at home order but ended up at the beach kind, in any US city.

  9. @David – Not interested in ideology debate. Just point out larger population does not always lead to more infection —— that only happens when no controlling measures are in place. Simple logic.

  10. @Eskimo
    Why make a distinction between local and central government? The local government acted in such a way precisely because of the political system in China. Beijing’s corrective measures don’t excuse what the local government (enabled by the policies and political culture in China) did.

    Fair enough.

  11. Vietnam is having more new cases than China because they are behind the curve – by a few weeks. Their measures should stop the increase very soon if the pandemic is playing out as it appears to do. But this is only for countries intelligent enough to get ahead and act forcefully and wisely.

    Unfortunately both the US and Canada had TWO MONTHS warning and did NOTHING. They didn’t even bother to buy some masks and respirator/ventilators. Now the “leaders” are mumbling platitudes about monitoring the situation and maybe investing in a monitor or two.

    We should be building temporary hospitals and mass purchasing every respirator/ventilator we can find anywhere in the world. And purchasing gloves and 95 masks.

    But the US President wants to reconsider the situation in two weeks because he doesn’t believe it is a pandemic. And Trudeau wants to sit at home for another week.

    Don’t compare ideologies, compare intelligent responses as opposed to the vote getting strategies in NA

  12. @Azamaraal
    When you said “because he doesn’t believe it is a pandemic” please took a look at when(how late) WHO(AKA china’s WHO^e) declared it’s a pandemic.

  13. I m based in Ho Chi Minh City, so from first hand experience and observation, I can tell you that the “mood” in Vietnam is positive at the moment and despite the hospitality and aviation sectors being hit hard, the people move as freely within the country as usual, however follow the guidelines that the government has set very early on (ie masks in public places, quarantine for 14 days for those who entered the country as of mid March and for those who had been either in contact with an infected person or those who were suspicious cases during the obligatory medical screening on arrival. Whether actual numbers are reported or not, nobody outside the government knows but what I see is that the emphasis on keeping this young nation healthy is very strong (doesn’t change the fact that in many other parts in the healthcare and social care sector they lack far behind other countries). Other obvious benefit are temperatures especially in the central and southern regions that are beyond 30 degrees making it hard for the virus to survive for long times and you can see that more cases had been recorded in colder areas such as northern vietnam and Hanoi.

    For now, domestic travel still continues (you wont be able to board a flight without a mask and some destinations like Phu Quoc have been closed for foreigners, most affecting foreign residents). As for Vietjet, I think they want to put confidence into the safety of domestic travel in a country where the majority of people dont have a health insurance. There is no negative publicity around this from what I see and hear.

  14. I’m not Vietnamese but I work and live in Vietnam for the last 16 years. Judging from comments and tone of statements, they do sound either this to be a case of unaware what’s happening in Vietnam or just a narrative of ‘let’s bash this third world country’. I can only hope it is not the latter. Perhaps, these few pointers could help:

    [1] Statistics of Covid-19 Infections
    By end of February, all 16 recovered Covid-19 patients were discharged. 2 Vietnamese and the rest where Chinese. This also happened at a time when many Vietnamese studying or working overseas, for whatever reasons (e.g., discrimination, fear of infection, fear their medical insurance wouldn’t sustain them overseas, etc.), opted to return to Vietnam.
    Some of these returnees were infected, thus bring us to the number we have as of today at 122 (Midnight, March 23rd)

    [2] Shutdown, Lock down, Isolation or Quarantine.
    Seeing the exodus of returning Vietnamese, the authorities, subject everyone arriving to 14-day isolation. This is to observe and test for Covid-19. Yes, all, including non-Vietnamese foreigners.
    The fastest facilities to be converted to isolation or quarantine sites are the army bases. These were made into makeshift hospitals with medical teams operating them

    True, the authorities do not give out warning when ordering forced isolation or quarantine. Advance notices only expedite the spread of infection as most do not want to be locked away for 14 days. Of course, there were some who heard about it. They abandoned their luggage at airport carousel and escaped. Two Brits did just that and they travelled across Vietnam from north to south, infecting more along the way, for four days before they were tracked down by authorities. They were asymptomatic but have the virus nevertheless.

    During such Isolation (not a quarantine as there’s a difference between these two terms), meals, sim card, sim card top up, new towels, new blankets, new toiletries, etc., are all provided free.
    Luggage would be disinfected.
    No, there is no individual cells like prison. In fact, it would be a group of 2-6 in a room.

    DO NOT CONFUSE THE ABOVE WITH THIS with “The country does have over 600 suspected cases, and more than 50,000 people are being monitored and quarantined, according to the health ministry.”

    Details of areas or flights with detected person confirmed with Covid-19, are announced via text to all Vietnam registered sim cards as well as in the local news. Persons who had been to such specific areas, or lived there, or was on the specified flights, were advised to SELF-ISOLATE in their own home for 14 days. They are to call the nearest health authorities. The latter would seal up the location (the street even), arrange for officers to test for Covid-19 and record daily temperature, arrange 3-meals daily and toiletries pack once a week. The government and private sectors (supermarkets, farmers, etc.) provide these supplies for free.

    The numbers of such isolation is fluid and it varies week to week, as those tested negative for 2 weeks, the isolation is lifted.
    These are self-isolation.
    In the event, any person confirmed positive for Covid-19, they are removed from the area and brought to identified hospitals for quarantine and treatment.

    To date (March 24th), there is no nationwide shutdown. However, the authorities had began grafting all doctors, nurses (even retirees) and medical students, for online training, to prepare in the event a nationwide shutdown is called.

    Personally, the glaring mistake of this promotion would be that it is in English. Their targeted audience is definitely the Vietnamese.
    Most Vietnamese do not have life or medical insurance. Those employed with labour contract are given minimal insurance as oppose to those who work on minimum wage. Minimal medical insurance is basically a coverage approximately 80% on one’s monthly income.

    Currently, all flights on international routes are stopped until April 30th.

    The VietJet’s offer only applies for domestic flights which are still operating. No one is travelling for leisure now as basically every sane person like to limit their interaction with anyone, if not opted for self isolation since they get free food and supplies. This leaves only those who had to travel for business (as opposed to shutting down business and let go all their employees).

    The strange thing is that all medical and hospitalisation expenses pertaining to Vietnamese being quarantined or infected by Covid-19, are paid by the government. Meals, sim card, sim card top up, new towels, new blankets, new toiletries, etc., are all provided free.
    Only foreigners need to pay for hospitalisation expenses.

    Remember that minimum insurance coverage is really limited cash to cover Covid-19 treatment. Remember that those infected are usually already with pre-existing illnesses, such as diabetes, renal failures, respiratory issues, cancer, heart illness, etc.

  15. @Zosimo Jimeno,
    Thank you for sharing such a detailed 1st hand knowledge report. I put more into what people witnessing it, on a personal level, versus the interpretive dialog, gleamed from various sources. It makes it more personable and real. I do applaud the Vietnamese government’s actions taken to address the Coronavirus. I especially like the tracking element,,which is something I have suggested, in the US; but has been met with ridicule; however, at least officials will A) Be able to determine whether the infested person is in compliance; but, also B) be able to see where that person has Actually been. I believe the US could have taken a more aggressive preparatory action, like when the cases in China reached over the 1000 mark, especially given, the fact those numbers were rising. I think our Government should have tone a Thorough analysis of all US citizens, working, living, and or studying abroad to gain a better insight to the possibility of those people possibly testing positive, upon their return home. Instead, this was treated just like the Common Cold or Flu. It was Blamed on Fake News and Political Agendas versus seeing it for what it was, a threat to our health and safety, and not enough was known about the origins, spread/transmission, or outcomes. Now, it’s finally identified as a Pandemic, and we’re still scrambling trying to figure out what to do. My prayers go out to everyone impacted by this virus, directly and indirectly. We, as a nation and world have proven we are RESILIENT.

  16. Vietjet are not the only airline to make a bikini calendar. Ryanair beat them to the punch by almost two decades.

  17. Read their FB and TripAdvisor it is real terrible company.

    They NEVER get any singel $€£ from me!

  18. Looking forward to this scumbag airline to go under from this global pandemic ordeal. By far the worst LCC I’ve ever used in my life so far.

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