Tommy Lloyd
Author: Tommy Lloyd, Managing Director

Tommy has over 15 years experience within the insurance industry, and his primary focus is helping travellers find the right cover for their medical conditions.

Originally posted: 18th Feb 2021

Analysis of the Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) November International Air Passenger Traffic* data reveals that 1,439,268 travellers may have travelled abroad uninsured during the UK’s second national lockdown in November 2020. Medical Travel Compared, a specialist travel insurance comparison site, analysed passenger data from all UK airports flying to destinations worldwide during a period where the government advised against all non-essential travel.

Medical Travel Compared had previously analysed CAA International Air Passenger Traffic to identify how many Brits may have travelled uninsured during peak summer season. The data revealed 1,914,550 Brits had travelled during July, August and September, meaning a total of 3,353,818 Brits may have been uninsured during November and these summer months.

The Netherlands attracted 78,905 visitors from the UK in November 2020, despite the country being in lockdown and the Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) implementing essential travel only. The most popular destinations for Brits in Spain and her islands were Tenerife (58,069 air passengers) and Malaga (18,428 passengers) with a total of passengers to Spain being 214,266. Analysis also showed that almost half (46%) of all arrivals to Spain departed from a London airport – London City, Stansted, London Heathrow, London Gatwick and Luton - with Manchester topping the preferred list for those living in the North.

Despite lockdown, British travellers continued to fly to Dubai in November with 69,154 taking to the sky. The United States was also a hot destination for travellers with 65,528 flying in November during the all but essential travel ban. New York was shown to be the most popular arrival airport (12,548 passengers), closely followed by Dallas (9,096 passengers) and Chicago (7,846 passengers). 

“Discovering that over 3 million travellers may have travelled uninsured in July, August, September and November is very worrying. Travel insurance is an essential element of taking a holiday, especially now when the whole world is experiencing the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic,” commented Tommy Lloyd, MD of Medical Travel Compared.

“By travelling outside of the FCDO advice, travellers are taking a huge risk with their health and finances by travelling to other countries. The decisions the government made during the European summer and ahead of the second lockdown were last-minute and without consultation of multiple industries that service the travel and tourism sector. This meant that the insurance industry, like many other businesses, were being asked to react to huge changes with little notice so many could not provide cover in time for holidaymakers’ trips."

He continued, “The good news is that many insurers have adapted and travellers now have a range of COVID-19 travel insurance policies to choose from should they wish to go abroad, but only when the FCDO advise it is safe to do so. For those who would like to travel to a country once we’re out of lockdown and is within quarantine guidance there are insurance policies available, just remember to check the small print for all eventualities covered.”

Popular lockdown destinations for Brits by regional airports:

  • Spain and the Canary and Balearic Islands were top of London’s airport departure lists with 97,982 passengers travelling through Stansted, London City, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, and Luton
  • Dubai (47,029 passengers), United States (65,528 passengers) plus Istanbul (29,787 passengers) were all popular cities for those travelling out of Heathrow
  • Those who travelled from Southend airport were most likely to go to Spain and the Balearic Islands with 856 passengers flying there, closely followed by Portugal and Lithuania
  • Scots were most likely to fly to The Netherlands, with 19,845 passengers departing from Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh airports
  • 6,481 passengers departed Belfast for the Spain and Balearic Islands
  • Birmingham and East Midlands airports’ number one departure destination was Spain and the Balearics with 19,574 travellers passing through
  • Total number of departures from Cardiff were low, compared to other regional airports, with Spain and the Balearic Islands topping the list at 463 passengers
  • Liverpool saw 5,727 passengers depart for Spain and the Balearic Islands, more than twice the number of travellers who went to Poland
  • More than double the number of travellers went to Spain and the Balearic Islands (214,266) over The Netherlands which recorded 78,905 passengers
  • The Netherlands (3,914 passengers), plus Spain and the Balearics (5,941 passengers) were the popular choices for those travelling from Newcastle
  • Those travelling further abroad to Jamaica were seen departing from London, with 3,500 passengers recorded from Gatwick and Heathrow
  • Manchester saw 31,080 passengers depart for Spain and the Balearics, followed by Qatar with 15,760 travellers

Medical Travel Compared works with more than 30 specialist insurance providers to help travellers compare the best deals from providers offering travel cover for those with pre-existing medical conditions.

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