Travel Through T5 at Your Own Risk!

April 16, 2008

Editor's Note (Saturday, April 19)-- According to a number of news reports, Direct Line and other insurers in the Royal Bank of Scotland Group have now backtracked and will be offering cover for those travelling through Terminal 5.

Heathrow's Terminal 5 was supposed to offer a simple and calm airport experience, giving British Airways' passengers a seamless, stress-free start to their journey.

Didn't quite happen that way, did it? With delays, cancellations and missing bag fiascos you would have to have been hiding under a rock to miss the negativity surrounding the opening of the new London terminal last month. And it continues: If you are travelling with BA you will be using the new airport terminal at your own risk -- insurers may not issue policies covering holidays that involve travel through Terminal 5.

What does that mean if you are heading abroad for a summer cruise holiday? Well, according to an article in the Daily Mail, those buying single trip insurance after the problematic launch of the £4.3 billion terminal may not be covered until the insurance firms restore their faith in it. In the article, the Association of British Insurers is cited as saying that many companies now regard travelling with BA through Terminal 5 as a foreseeable risk, given that almost all destinations can be reached from Heathrow using other airlines.

The Sun newspaper reported that insurance companies Direct Line, Tesco and the Post Office will refuse to cover passengers. Direct Line, Churchill and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) have also temporarily stopped offering coverage for lost luggage or delayed flights to travellers going through Terminal 5, per Times Online.
There is one "but": If you purchased your insurance before the opening of the terminal on March 27, then you can breathe a sigh of relief because you are still covered.

If you are in need of insurance for an upcoming holiday, seek out a company that has not yet changed its policy in light of the Terminal 5 fiasco (Saga and Norwich Union are two) -- and be sure to read the fine print of the policy very carefully.

How are you handling the T5 situation? Vote in our daily poll on the home page!

--by Kelly Ranson, Associate Editor