Leaving on a Jet Plane

Do I need Travel Insurance – Against Fellow Passengers?

rude-passenger-300x200In the past two weeks, I have been on six different planes. Thankfully, my flights have been non-eventful. In the same time that I have been in the air, there have been a few reports of disgruntled passengers lashing out against their seatmates.

Traveling is stressful, whether it is for business or pleasure. With the stress of getting to the airport early for long security lines, the limited amount of space in the overhead bins and the tight seats, most people need a vacation from their vacation.

With all of the physical constraints that we travelers deal with, you would think that there would be camaraderie between passengers. Lately, that is not the case. With everyone stressed out about boarding the plane, it seems that it can bring out the worst of human behavior. Do we need to protect ourselves from our fellow passengers?

Travel insurance is not a new product. According to the US Travel Insurance Association the most recent statistics show that 148 million U.S. travelers were covered by various types of travel insurance and related services in 2012. Insurance carriers offer passengers accidental death policies from common carriers. Airlines and trains offer insurance in case travel plans change. Carriers even offer medical assistance if you are sick or hurt overseas. Maybe it is time to add a new type of protection.

Airlines now have the authority to remove an unruly passenger from the aircraft, or make emergency landings if a situation is out of control in the air? Passengers fight for the right to recline their seats, others bicker over the armrest, and everyone dreads having the screaming child in the row behind them. Last week, a woman stabbed her seatmate with a pen when his snoring was bothering her. While I agree that it is annoying to hear someone else snore, I hardly believe it is worth stabbing someone with a pen, or even your finger.

If you are wronged while up in flight, how are you protected? Is this an opportunity for insurance carriers to offer protection to passengers who are the target of another passenger’s outburst? Should carriers offer good passenger discounts if they are not involved in a skirmish at 30,000 feet?

While I do not think this type of travel insurance is based in reality, maybe it should. Reckless drivers are charged higher rates for their auto insurance, smokers and unhealthy people have higher life insurance premiums, and certain breeds of dogs have different premiums for pet insurance. Maybe difficult flyers should have to pay extra as well.

Whether you are on a weekly flight or travel once a year, wouldn’t you prefer that the friendly skies were just a little more friendly? Or at least insured to be?