Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic are not giving up on a potential reopening of travel between the United States and the United Kingdom. The two airlines recently launched a built-in digital health credential that the carriers are billing as a blueprint for the reopening of transatlantic travel.
Delta and Virgin Atlantic launch digital health passport
Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic both debuted a new digital health credential. Branded as “FlyReady,” the digital health credential tool is designed to ensure that passengers are prepared to travel before arriving at the airport and conducting international travel.
The digital health passport will initially focus on making sure passengers meet their testing requirements for the journey. In the future, the plan is to integrate vaccination credentials before the end of the summer. This latter feature will be more helpful in destinations that open up or have already opened up for vaccinated travelers.
Allison Ausband, EVP and Chief Customer Experience Officer, stated the following on the launch of the tool:
“Early in the pandemic, we realized that our customers would need a way to navigate the complex requirements of post-COVID international travel, so we began working with our partners at Virgin Atlantic to develop this solution. We are committed to making travel an enjoyable experience that we all cherish, and Delta FlyReady is an easy-to-use, reliable and effective capability that removes the guesswork for customers and our employees.”
Meanwhile, Corneel Koster, Chief Customer and Operating Officer at Virgin Atlantic, added the following:
“Virgin Atlantic FlyReady and Delta FlyReady will help to strengthen customers’ confidence as they return to the skies, by making their trans-Atlantic journeys as smooth and seamless as possible, while navigating new COVID-19 travel requirements in a convenient digital format.”
Since late April, Delta has been testing the tool on flights between Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL) and London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR). The system assists customers in scheduling a COVID-19 test that meets destination requirements, is verified immediately and helps passengers recognize if they meet or do not meet their destination’s entry requirements.
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How the experience works
Delta detailed how its program works. After booking a flight, passengers should check their email for information on accessing the FlyReady system. There is no need to download an additional app as it is integrated into the airlines’ systems.
Up to three days before departure, in partnership with TrustAssure, Delta passengers will need to schedule a COVID-19 test. Delta will provide passengers with a list of verified COVID-19 testing locations and options for booking a test. Once taken, TrustAssure will email you back with a confirmation of your Delta FlyReady status or notifying that you need to take additional actions.
If you choose to get tested on your own from a different provider, you can upload those test results to the credential as well. Do it before arriving at the airport to utilize the credential.
Once you complete your FlyReady digital health credential, it is linked to your itinerary. As a result, you can then check-in normally and proceed with your travel after the tool confirms your eligibility to travel.
Note that customers should continue to bring paper copies of test results and other required documentation with them. Delta or Virgin Atlantic FlyReady does not replace or are accepted in lieu of other government-required travel documentation.
Pushing for a transatlantic reopening
Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic have joined many of their peers in pushing for a transatlantic reopening. The airlines billed the digital health passport as a “blueprint” for reopening travel between the US and the UK.
The US remains on the UK’s Amber List, and the US has barred foreign nationals who were physically present in the UK from coming to the United States unless they meet certain exceptions. The goal is to help use technology and science to reopen one of the most important travel corridors in the world.
There is some precedent for such actions to reopening travel. For example, Italy has allowed the testing trials for quarantine-free travel to the country from the United States to become practice and available for leisure travelers. Delta’s flights to the country are included.
Delta has joined other airlines in using a digital health passport to help eliminate some of the guesswork for international travel. The consensus has been that these tools, which are optional to utilize, help passengers ensure they have met requirements for entry, wherever they are going, before they even get to the airport. This is a different system from the IATA Travel Pass.
Delta’s digital health passport is designed to eliminate a lot of that guesswork. It will be beneficial for customers going to destinations open for vaccinated travelers once they open up. When you travel and utilize a digital health passport, continue to bring paper copies or records of test results or vaccination status with you.
Are you going to utilize the FlyReady digital health passport for your travel to the UK? Let us know in the comments!