Finnair Wants To Test IATA Travel Pass On London Heathrow Flights

Finnair has begun to trial IATA’s Travel Pass health passport solution on flights between London Heathrow Airport and its Helsinki home in Finland. The IATA Travel Pass is one of several health passport solutions launched by companies across the globe in a bid to simplify post-COVID-19 travel.

Finnair, Premium Economy, Airbus A350
Finnair is launching IATA Travel Pass on flights between London and Helsinki. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Edit: Rohan Patel

So much has changed in the year and a half. Masks have become a norm on flights, where they can still operate given strict travel restrictions. As the world’s population is increasingly vaccinated, proving your COVID-19 status is becoming increasingly important, especially with countries now exempting vaccinated individuals from quarantine.

London to Helsinki

Finnair is trialing the IATA Travel Pass on flights between London and Helsinki. While some airlines are only trialing the app in one direction, Finnair uses it in both directions. The airline will initially trial the app until August 11th, having launched it on July 14th.

Commenting on the app’s launch Finnair’s Chief Commerical Officer, Ole Orvér, said,

“We look forward to hearing our customers’ thoughts on the new solution to decide our next steps with it… We are also exploring other digital solutions to ease travelling and coronavirus related travel document management… The industry is in need for current protocols to be replaced with more effective, digital solutions to simplify coronavirus travel procedures.”

ANA-IATA-Health-Passport
Finnair joins many other airlines trialing the app. Photo: IATA

The requirements of the route

When traveling to London, passengers will need to have a passenger locator form and proof that they have booked at least a day two test, and also a day eight test if not fully vaccinated by the NHS. They must also have a negative test before travel and additional proof of vaccination from the NHS if applicable. Those not vaccinated will have to quarantine on arrival.

According to the Airbus Tripset App, passengers will need to show proof of a negative test to travel to Finland if they are unvaccinated. The EU Digital Certificate could be used for this but would likely only be held by Finnish passengers returning from London.

Finnair, Passenger numbers, June 2021
With the EU’s health pass launch, the airline will stop checking COVID-19 data before flying passengers to Finland. Image: CovPass Screenshot

Making the flight less stressful

There are two main types of “health passports” when it comes to short-haul European travel. Firstly there is a document that proves you are vaccinated, tested, or recovered. This includes the EU Health Pass launched at the start of the month. The other type is a pass that shows somebody has confirmed that you have the first document type.

The IATA Travel Pass falls into the second of the two categories. Essentially, the pass makes it easier for passengers to travel by air. They will upload their COVID-19 documentation to the app. Once a check that the documentation meets the requirements of the destination is complete, the passenger gets the all-clear to travel.

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This has two significant benefits. Firstly, it can give the passengers peace of mind that they will not miss their flight due to incorrect documentation. However, it also allows airlines to move document checks off-site. This stops check-in desks from being overwhelmed by the additional work created checking documents at the airport.

What do you make of Finnair’s IATA Travel Pass trial? Let us know what you think and why in the comments below!

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