Alaska Airlines is set to begin using the VeriFLY health passport. The airline is soon to join the oneworld alliance, whose members American Airlines and British Airways are already using the app. The app allows passengers to avoid document checks at the airport by completing them in the comfort of their homes
The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed the way we fly. We’ve gone from masks being a rare sight on most flights to COVID-19 tests being mandatory before some travel. Adding COVID-19 testing requirements has also added an additional document check, which adds time to the journey.
Airlines are looking to combat this with technology. Yesterday, the app’s first airline partner, American Airlines, revealed that it would roll out the app to all airports for travel to eight countries.
Alaska Airlines to launch VeriFLY
Today British Airways began allowing passengers traveling to the United States to use the VeriFLY app. Tomorrow, another airline is set to start using the app. Alaska Airlines will start offering VeriFLY to those traveling on international flights to the United States.
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In January, the United States government began to require that all passengers arriving in the country from international flights had a negative COVID-19 test. However, airport staff now need to check these documents, adding time to the travel experience. Indeed, American Airlines had seen the check-in time increase by around 10-15 minutes, with waits of up to three to four hours at peak times.
How does it work?
When logging in to the VeriFLY app, passengers are prompted to register their email and deposit critical identifying data such as their name, date of birth, and a selfie. They must then choose the country that they’re traveling to and input their flight details. This will create a series of criteria that must be met.
In the case of travel to the United States, passengers will need to confirm that they have a valid passport, a negative COVID-19 test, and sign a declaration. The first and last items are a case of ticking boxes.
However, the COVID-19 test will need to be uploaded by the user as a photo. It will then be verified according to VeriFLY’s standards by the app’s employees. Employees have a strict set of criteria to avoid accepting fake certificates and will contact the passenger for more details if necessary. The app is also working on a system to confirm test results with major test providers digitally.
Once all of the steps are completed, the passenger will get a pass or fail status, depending on whether they meet all relevant criteria. If they meet these criteria, British Airways and American Airlines allow passengers to use a dedicated check-in area. Alaska Airlines will likely follow suit. This also means that such checks aren’t carried out at the airport.
Of course, some may not have a smartphone, and some may not wish to use the app. In this case, passengers are still able to use manual document verification at the airport itself. However, this could take longer. You can read more about how the app works here.
Would you use the VeriFLY app when flying with Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, or British Airways? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!