British Airways has today begun to trial the IATA Travel Pass on flights from London Heathrow to Zurich and Geneva.
The airline’s parent company International Airlines Group (IAG) has been working with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to develop the digital health pass, which has now seen over 20 airlines sign up for trials in the coming weeks and months, including BA’s sister airline Iberia.
The app allows passengers to create a secure account, which provides them with the entry requirements for their destination. BA customers can then book a Covid-19 test with an approved provider, and the results will be automatically uploaded to the app by the lab. Once the app has verified that the customer meets the criteria for their destination, they will be notified that they are ready to travel.
Sean Doyle, BA’s Chairman and CEO, commented:
“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.”
This news comes after IATA warned of eight-hour processing times at airports unless governments move quickly to adopt digitized solutions for Covid-19 checks.
Meanwhile, BA is trialling other digital solutions to facilitate “frictionless travel”. The airline is currently trialling the Verifly app on routes to the US, France, Ireland, Barbados, Bahamas and Canada, as well as all inbound international flights. The app allows customers to check that they meet the entry requirements of their destination “by providing digital health document verification and confirming eligibility”. Once submitted the app will provide either a ‘Pass’ or ‘Fail’ message.
See our review of the app here:
Customers flying with BA to Cyprus, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal can also upload negative Covid-19 test results and other documentation directly onto ba.com for verification before travel.
For a look at the pros and cons of “vaccine passports”, and the different options being developed, see our recent features: