This Bahamas resort offers free private-jet flights to guests who get COVID-19 — but there’s a catch

Feb 25, 2021

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The Bahamas is one of several countries in the Caribbean open to international visitors.

It’s set up a robust arrivals system meant to keep the spread of COVID-19 to a minimum, including pre-arrival testing and mandatory health insurance plans that cost between $40 and $60, depending on the length of your stay.

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The required insurance plan issued by the Bahamas covers up to to $50,000 in COVID-19-related medical expenses incurred on the islands, as well as up to $7,000 in quarantine-related expenses, if necessary (up to $500 per day).

Baha Mar — a giant resort complex in the city of Nassau — specifically said that if a guest tested positive, they’d be given the opportunity to complete a quarantine period on the property or fly home via “private aircraft or air ambulance,” arranged by the property’s so-called Special Guest Ops team.

Initial details of this program were light, but now we have more information about what this contingency plan would look like should someone test positive while on property.

In a press release issued Monday, Baha Mar said that it would provide “courtesy suite accommodations” for up to 14 days, including a $150 per person, per day dining credit, or “should the guest need to return to the United States earlier,” a free flight on a private jet back to the U.S. facilitated “via a medical evacuation provider,” according to a Baha Mar spokesperson, for the COVID-19-positive guest and their immediate family members. These services are funded by Baha Mar itself and come at no additional cost to guests.

These offerings build upon the property’s “Commitment to Your Wellbeing” programme, which includes complimentary rapid antigen testing upon arrival and prior to departure if your home country requires it.

With the U.S.’ still-new testing requirement for entry in mind, this offering from Baha Mar raises more than a few questions. The CDC says that limited exceptions to the rule will be considered, on a case-by-case basis for those with “exigent circumstances where emergency travel is required to preserve health and safety (e.g., emergency medical evacuations).”

In theory, one may be able to enter the U.S. without a negative COVID-19 test if an exemption is granted for a medical evacuation. But again, those situations will only be considered on a case-by-case basis so it remains to be seen if someone who isn’t critically ill would be able to qualify for an exception.

According to the Baha Mar spokesperson, if anyone tests negative again for COVID-19 during their quarantine period, the resort would work with them to coordinate a return to the United States “via commercial air carriers.”

Finally, even in the very unlikely case that you’re able to take advantage of the private-jet service, you would only get as far as South Florida and would have to coordinate travel to your final destination if it’s not in the immediate area.

Because of the U.S.’ negative-test entry requirement, it’s overwhelmingly likely that U.S. citizens won’t be able to take advantage of the complimentary evacuation on board a private jet, though there is a small chance that the CDC could grant an exception to its rule if a particular case meets the criteria for a medical evacuation.

While it’s unlikely that you’ll actually be able to get a free ride home on a private jet, we are very excited that Baha Mar will offer COVID-19-positive guests a complimentary 14-day quarantine with a generous daily dining credit. This would go a long way to make what surely would be a stressful time a lot more comfortable.

Featured image by Nick Ellis/The Points Guy

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