IATA has integrated the acceptance of digital vaccine certificates issued by both the United Kingdom and the European Union into its IATA Travel Pass app. The new functionality will make it easier for passengers to prove their vaccination status when traveling in the post-COVID era.
The way we travel has changed. Before, passengers would just turn up at an airport and hop on a plane. Perhaps, if traveling to a more exotic destination, they might require a specific vaccination. Now, things are different, with many countries requiring proof of a negative COVID-19 test or vaccination before flying to them. This has created a challenge for airlines.
Accepting vaccine certificates
For several months now, both the UK’s NHS and European Union member states have issued digital vaccine certificates held in secure QR codes. Now, having such a vaccine certificate will become even more beneficial. Passengers will be able to upload them to the IATA Travel Pass app to show airlines and border agents that they meet the relevant travel standards when applicable.
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Of course, the exact requirements still highly depend on which country you’d be flying to. If you were flying to Germany, you would need to prove to the airline that you had taken a negative rapid test, recovered from COVID-19, or been vaccinated. On the other hand, everybody traveling to the United Kingdom must show a negative rapid test result, regardless of any other COVID-19 status. This morning Simple Flying reported that Saudia Arabia’s immigration service would begin to accept IATA Travel Pass.
Commenting on the new vaccine pass integration, Nick Careen, IATA’s Senior Vice President for Operations Safety and Security, said,
“COVID-19 vaccination certificates are becoming a widespread requirement for international travel. Handling the European and UK certificates through IATA Travel Pass is an important step forward, providing convenience for travelers, authenticity for governments and efficiency for airlines.”
Why are travel passes needed?
As demand for travel returns, partially related to the progress of COVID-19 vaccine rollouts, airports will become busier, which will become an issue for airlines. Earlier this year, Willie Walsh, IATA’s Chief, revealed that airports aren’t designed for robust document checking.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, only a handful of passengers used check-in desks, with many people proceeding straight to security with hand luggage. Since the pandemic has required increased document checks, many passengers who would usually avoid the check-in desk have had to become reacquainted with it.
Solutions such as IATA Travel Pass allow document verification to be moved off-site, allowing passengers to breeze past the check-in desk once again and, more importantly, freeing them up for those who need them. Although on a trip back in May, Simple Flying found out we had to visit the check-in desk anyway despite clearing a pre-travel document check.
Are you pleased to see the UK and EU vaccine passes integrated into the IATA Travel Pass app? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!