The Covid-19 has changed the way we travel. Health requirements such as tests and vaccinations have a greater impact on where and when people can fly.
In an attempt to help revive the industry, the International Air Transport Association has developed a digital pass.
This mobile app is designed to give travelers the information they need before heading to any destination while safely verifying that passengers meet Covid-19 health requirements for any trip.
The app is one of many digital initiatives currently in the testing phase. More than 25 airlines, including Etihad, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, and the United Arab Emirates, have partnered with Iata to begin testing the mobile app with travelers on select flights.
Starting Tuesday, travelers traveling with Etihad on selected routes will be invited to participate in the airline’s Iata Travel Pass trials.
The National had the chance to try out the technology to find out exactly how it works and what travelers can expect if the digital pass is approved.
What is the Iata Travel Pass?
The Iata Travel Pass is a free mobile app that allows travelers to record their personal information, learn about Covid-related testing requirements for their destination, and share pre-departure Covid-19 test results with airlines. before the flight.
In the future, the app is also expected to host vaccination records to facilitate travel between countries, requiring people to prove that they have received a vaccine against the coronavirus.
What documents do I need to use the Iata Travel Pass?
To use the digital pass, passengers will need a biometric passport.
As the app is currently in a trial phase, travelers will only be able to use it if they are traveling with an airline and on a route it is tested on.
For travelers traveling with Etihad, it will be tested on flights between Abu Dhabi and Chicago, New York, Washington and Toronto from Tuesday to Monday, May 31.
How to use the Iata Travel Pass?
- Download the Iata Travel Pass from the Apple Store.
- Sign up by following the onscreen instructions, including taking multiple selfies from different angles. The app will determine that you are a real person.
- Scan your biometric passport. The app will read the information from your passport photo page and the inserted digital chip.
- Add flight details by selecting the relevant airline and choosing a flight from the drop-down menu. The app will then explain to you what the travel requirements are for that destination.
- Visit an accredited laboratory and take a PCR test. As part of the Etihad Iata Travel Pass trials, passengers can visit Life Diagnostics in Abu Dhabi or G42 Biogenix Labs in Masdar City.
- Receive PCR results, with an average processing time of eight to 12 hours. Once the results are uploaded, travelers will be notified if their medical condition allows them to complete their trip.
- Go to the airport to check in. Expedited queues are in place at Abu Dhabi Airport for Etihad travelers participating in the Iata Travel Pass trials.
What are the advantages of using the digital pass?
Every traveler using the app will benefit from faster check-in. Etihad estimates that this could save between 15 minutes and an hour per passenger, depending on the crowds at the airport.
Passengers participating in the Etihad trials will also receive priority check-in and a voucher for 90MB of free internet access that can be used in the air.
The app is contactless, which means travelers have less need to handle documents when checking in.
If approved, the Iata Travel Pass could have several benefits that will help boost the travel industry restart.
In addition to providing precise information on the testing requirements for individual destinations, it will allow travelers to securely transmit their test information to airlines and border authorities while allowing authorities to verify the authenticity of this information. .
Can I use the Iata Travel Pass on any airline?
Currently, the app is being tested on Etihad flights from Abu Dhabi to Chicago, New York, Washington and Toronto.
Emirates is also testing the app on select routes, notably to Barcelona and from London, with other destinations in the works.
Other airlines testing the pass include Singapore Airlines, Qantas, Gulf Air, Virgin Atlantic, Iberia, and Qatar Airways.
Will vaccination information be stored on the app?
At the moment, the digital pass does not contain information on the vaccination of travelers. However, it is expected that this will be added in the future.
Adding vaccination status is “on the technology roadmap” for the Iata Travel Pass, said Frank Meyer, chief digital officer of Etihad.
Do I have to participate in the Iata Travel Pass trials?
Meyer confirms: “Passengers who do not wish to participate in the test can come to the airport as usual with their printed PCR tests and other documents.
Is my data securely stored in the Iata Travel Pass?
The app uses decentralized technology, which means there is no central database with passenger information.
Passengers will still have the property and the exclusive right to share their data, and users can also delete their data from the app at any time.
“The data belongs entirely to the passenger and at no time does the airline have access to or own this data. The data is only on the traveler’s home phone and nowhere else,” says Meyers.
How accurate is the information contained in the application?
The Iata Travel Pass is supported by Timatic’s global database of travel rules and regulations. This is the same company that applies the changes in Covid-19 regulations to airlines and is responsible for feeding most airlines’ check-in systems for passport and visa regulatory compliance.
The database is updated over 200 times a day so travelers using the app can be sure they have access to the most up-to-date information for their trip.