British Airways Begins Trialling IATA’s Travel Pass Health Passport

After months of preparation, British Airways today implemented a trial of the IATA Travel Pass, a health passport solution aimed to streamline travel. With the launch, British Airways is now offering three different health passport solutions depending on the route of travel.

British Airways, IATA Travel Pass, Health Passport
British Airways has begun to trial IATA’s Travel Pass on flights to Switzerland. Photo: Getty Images

Health passports are being lauded as a solution to enabling widescale travel following the vast impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, the focus is on checking COVID-19 test results. In the coming months, this will likely also expand to vaccination status. Unfortunately, a uniform approach doesn’t exist to verify documents right now, which IATA is keen to address.

Launching travel pass

From today, British Airways is trialing the IATA Travel Pass. Initially, the airline is solely targeting flights to one country, Switzerland. As a result, British Airways will be offering the digital solution on flights from its London Heathrow home to both Geneva and Zurich.

To use the pass, customers are required to download the IATA Travel Pass App. According to British Airways, passengers create an account and enter their flight details. Entry requirements are then shown for the destination. In the case of Switzerland, this means a negative COVID-19 test carried out within 72 hours of arrival in the country.

British Airways, IATA Travel Pass, Health Passport
The app is the third health passport solution introduced by the airline. Photo: British Airways

The IATA Travel Pass app will show a list of approved test providers who can upload test results straight to the app. British Airways told Simple Flying that passengers cannot upload their own test results. These, alongside any other documentation required to travel, are then verified, with the passenger notified that they are eligible to travel or not.

One of three solutions

IATA Travel Pass is one of three health passport solutions now being trialed by British Airways. The first to be launched was VeriFLY. This, like IATA Travel Pass, is a separate app download used to verify COVID-19 documents before travel. The airline is using VeriFLY for all trips to the UK and flights bound for the US, France, Ireland, Barbados, The Bahamas, and Canada.

Meanwhile, passengers traveling to Cyprus, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain, and Portugal can use BA’s homegrown solution for verifying travel documents. You can read how Simple Flying found this system when we trialed it last week.

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Heathrow’s Red List terminal opens

For those traveling to the UK, a new arrival possibility opened today. While Frankfurt Airport reopened Terminal 2, Heathrow Airport reopened Terminal 3. British Airways flights from India will now arrive at the terminal, as it has been designated to handle red list arrivals.

British Airways, IATA Travel Pass, Health Passport
Red list arrivals are now being funneled through the otherwise empty Terminal 3. Photo: Getty Images

Previously, arrivals from red list countries were required to queue up right next to green and amber arrivals for hours. Given red countries are designated as such due to the high risk that arrivals will carry COVID-19 variants, this was a worry for many.

The logistics for passengers arriving on connecting flights to other countries haven’t been revealed. They will likely need to take a bus connection to the red list terminal. There will also be extra manpower required to reunite them with their bags. Heathrow Airport aims to relocate the facility from Terminal 3 to Terminal 4 in due course.

Have you used a health passport solution from British Airways? Let us know which you used and how you found it in the comments below!

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