Travel pass

IATA integrates UK and EU vaccine passes into its Travel Pass app

IATA has integrated acceptance of digital vaccine certificates issued by both the UK and the European Union into its IATA Travel Pass application. The new feature 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 simply showed up at an airport and jumped on a plane. Maybe if they’re traveling to a more exotic destination, they might need 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.


Acceptance of vaccine certificates

For several months now, the UK NHS and European Union member states have issued digital vaccine certificates stored in secure QR codes. Now having such a vaccination certificate will become even more advantageous. Passengers will be able to upload them to the IATA Travel Pass app to show airlines and border agents that they meet applicable travel standards, where applicable.

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Of course, the exact requirements are still highly dependent on the country you are flying to. If you were flying to Germany, you will need to prove to the airline that you have had a negative rapid test, recovered from COVID-19 or been vaccinated. On the other hand, anyone traveling to the UK must present a negative rapid test result, regardless of any other COVID-19 status. This morning, Simple Flying announced that Saudi Arabia’s immigration service will begin accepting the IATA Travel Pass.

IATA Travel Pass, Digital Vaccine Certificate, NHS, EU
The Travel Pass allows passengers to avoid lengthy document checks. Photo: British Airways

Commenting on the integration of the new vaccine pass, Nick Careen, IATA Senior Vice President for Safety and Security of Operations, said:

“COVID-19 vaccination certificates are becoming a widespread requirement for international travel. Managing EU and UK certificates via IATA Travel Pass is a significant step forward, providing convenience for travellers, authenticity for governments and efficiency for airlines.

Why are travel tickets necessary?

As travel demand returns, in part related to progress in the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine, airports will become busier, which will become a problem for airlines. Earlier this year, IATA chief Willie Walsh revealed that airports are not designed for rigorous document screening.

IATA Travel Pass, Digital Vaccine Certificate, NHS, EU
Checking everyone’s documents leads to long queues, as seen at the UK border earlier this summer.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, only a handful of passengers used the check-in counters, and many people went straight to security with carry-on baggage. As the pandemic required increased document control, many passengers who usually avoided the check-in counter had to rediscover it.

Solutions such as the IATA Travel Pass allow document verification to be moved off-site, allowing passengers to walk past the check-in counter again and, more importantly, freeing them up for those who need it. Although on a trip in May, Simple Flying discovered that we had to go to the check-in counter anyway despite checking the documents before the trip.

Are you happy to see UK and EU vaccination passes integrated into the IATA Travel Pass app? Tell us what you think and why in the comments!

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