Another carrier – British Airways – has today announced plans to trial the IATA Travel Pass, aimed at getting passengers safely back in the skies following what has been a turbulent year for the aviation industry.
What is the IATA Travel Pass?
The IATA Travel Pass is a mobile app that helps travellers store and manage their verified certifications for COVID-19 tests and in future COVID-19 vaccinations. The app plans to increase passenger confidence in flying in a COVID-recovery era, reduce the administrative burden on passengers, and simplify the new passenger experience.
IATA Travel Pass is built on verifiable credential technology, a new standard for digital identity that puts the individual in control of their data. Verifiable credentials allow individuals to hold identity documents (including COVID-19 test results), as digital ‘credentials’ in a secure smartphone ‘digital wallet’ app, and control when and with whom these credentials are shared. Unlike traditional identity models, the verifiable credential model is completely decentralised, meaning there is no data intermediaries and sensitive data is not stored on a centralised database.
This system allows the certification status to be shown to multiple airlines, airports and authorities, further harmonising the travel experience. British Airways is just one of the carrier rolling out trials of the technology.
British Airways Trial in Full
British Airways will begin trialling digital travel solution, IATA Travel Pass, on flights from Heathrow to Geneva and Zurich in Switzerland from June 1st.
The app can be downloaded onto a mobile device directly from the app store. Once downloaded, passengers will be able to create a secure account and will be presented with the entry requirements for their destination. Covid-19 tests booked through an approved provider, will have the results automatically uploaded into the app by the laboratory, further reducing the administrative burden of flying in an era of COVID-recovery.
The app then checks that a flyer meets the entry requirements for their destination and will then notify the user to let them know that they are ready to travel. The airline’s parent company, International Airlines Group (IAG), has been working closely with IATA to co-develop the app that is now being successfully piloted by other global airlines, including British Airways’ sister airline Iberia.
In a statement to Travel Radar, Sean Doyle, British Airways’ Chairman and CEO said:
“We are committed to exploring ways to ensure that the customer journey is as frictionless as possible and sharing our learnings to help the travel industry take off again.
We know that digital travel passes are part of the solution and they will also play a key role in offering those travelling the reassurance they need before they arrive at the airport. We hope to be able to offer a customer-friendly digital option for every British Airways international route that requires proof of government mandated Covid status documentation.”
British Airways is also currently trialling digital travel app, VeriFLY, on routes to the US, France, Ireland, Barbados, Bahamas and Canada, as well as all inbound international flights. Once a customer has had their travel documentation certified through the app they will be able to check-in through either the British Airways website or the British Airways app and download their boarding pass before arriving at the airport.
The airline’s customers travelling to Cyprus, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal can now also upload their negative Covid-19 test result and other documentation directly into the BA website before travel.
What are your thoughts on the trial of technologies like IATA Travel Pass? Do they encourage you to fly? Let us know in the comments below!