Airlines Adopt Digital Health Passports to Help Streamline Travel

There’s an array of international travel requirements, varying country to country and changing frequently. In addition to no international standard on test type, timeframes, or documentation, a new U.S. requirement for a negative COVID-19 test for international travel to the United States took effect on Jan. 26.

In an effort to streamline the process, airlines have adopted digital health passports to verify passenger data pre-flight or pre-entry.

Alaska Airlines launched the VeriFLY app, giving passengers’ expedited check-in and verification for their arrival to the U.S. so they can meet the latest entry requirements with ease.

Travelers can upload required health documents, including negative coronavirus test results, and select their country of destination and add in their inbound flight details. This will generate a pre-travel “to-do” list that includes all of the necessary requirements. After users complete uploading they required forms, they will receive travel pass verification, which can take up to six hours.

Travelers arriving at the airport will present their certified VeriFLY profile to an Alaska Airlines agent and continue with normal check-in for their flight. The third-party app is also used by American Airlines.

Travelers flying from American’s domestic airports to eight countries will have the option to use VeriFLY for international flights to and from the United Kingdom, Canada, Jamaica, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. American’s joint venture partner, British Airways, is also now using VeriFLY to streamline international flying.

Another leading digital health technology, five major airlines have signed on to use CommonPass, which allows travelers to document their COVID-19 status electronically and present it when boarding an airplane or crossing a border via a QR code that can be scanned by airline staff and border officials either from a mobile device or a printout.

Developed by Swiss-based nonprofit the Commons Project and the World Economic Forum, CommonPass is available to all JetBlue, Lufthansa, Swiss International Airlines, United Airlines and Virgin Atlantic passengers flying out from New York, Boston, London and Hong Kong, and will be expanded.

In October, the CommonPass was successfully trialed on a Cathay Pacific Airways flight from Hong Kong to Singapore and on an United flight from London’s Heathrow Airport to Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey.

The Airport Council International, a group representing almost 2,000 airports around the world, has also joined the CommonTrust Network—the collection of entities that have agreed to recognize and work with CommonPass.

Oneworld, Star Alliance, and SkyTeam – three major airline alliances representing 58 member airlines – have expressed support the use of CommonPass as a way to bypass quarantines.

Key players of SkyTeam includes Delta Air Lines, Air France-KLM and China Airlines. Oneworld has, among others, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Qantas and Alaska Airlines while some of Star Alliance’s members are Air Canada, Lufthansa, SAS, and United.

In the meantime, Delta has added a new capabilities to Delta.com, allowing customers to directly upload and verify their documents at check-in.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is also developing its own version of a digital health passport to help support the safe reopening of borders.

The Travel Pass is expected to launch by the end of the quarter and will also be available on Apple and Android devices. The app was tested on Singapore Airlines last month, and trials on U.S. airlines are expected soon.

Related Articles:

Digital Wellness/Health Passport: Is This the Final Answer to Returning to Travel?, Global Business Travel Assoc.

Airline Industry Groups ask White House for Official Standard on Vaccine Passports, by NBC News

Your Guide to Digital Health Passports, from the Points Guy.

GBTA Poll: Digital Health Verification – The Solution to Safely Resume Business Travel GBTA

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