As the COVID pandemic continues to rage worldwide, governments and airlines are looking to health passports as a means of ensuring safe travel. These passports enable travelers to pre-clear themselves for travel and streamline the whole process. Today there are a handful of airlines with health passport systems in place (or imminent), but we can expect many more to follow.
A handful of airlines lead the way
As the concept of digital health passports is still in its relative infancy, not all airlines are onboard so far. However, a fairly sizeable number of carriers are already using digital health passports, mostly on a trial basis. As of February 2021, these airlines are:
- British Airways
- Virgin Atlantic
- Alaska Airlines
- Cathay Pacific
- American Airlines
- Qatar Airways
- Singapore Airlines
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VeriFLY is being used by American Airlines and British Airways as a health passport, with other airlines including Alaska Airlines rolling out the app imminently. The app was created before the pandemic as means of streamlining check-in and TSA screening, but has been adapted into a health passport. According to its creators, Daon:
“VeriFLY compiles real-time wellness information from self-certified health questionnaires and/or diagnostic COVID-19 test results from over 20,000 performing labs and provides digital badging, proof of test status for both antibody or viral testing, and (in the future) proof of vaccine.”
IATA Travel Pass
Developed by International Air Transport Association, the IATA Travel Pass is another health passport available to airlines. The IATA has partnered with Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways to trial its Travel Pass, with both Emirates and Etihad expected to adopt the system by the end of the first quarter. COPA Airlines also announced its plans for the IATA Travel Pass, with trials expected to begin in March.
Airlines look to tech solutions
Mobile apps offer a fast and convenient method of adhering to travel requirements, allowing passengers to easily clear themselves for travel. While there are still valid concerns about data privacy, apps make the process far more efficient which will ultimately lead to a better travel experience.
Versatility is also key when looking to implement health passports on a mass scale, with requirements differing depending on destination and airline. For example, Denmark has announced its own vaccine passport scheme is coming by the end of February, while nearby Sweden will still require a negative test result for entry. Health passport apps will allow travelers to upload the documents they need, whether this is proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test.
Are you happy with your data being used for digital health passports? Do you think these types of schemes will ultimately be successful? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.