The IATA Travel Pass is coming: here’s what you need to know
As the All Blacks begin their international tour, they are being used as guinea pigs for a new tool that will change the way we travel.
Air New Zealand this week shared a photo on social media of players showcasing the IATA Travel Pass – a mobile app that stores Covid-19 test results and travellers’ vaccine certificates.
Air New Zealand, which is one of more than 70 airlines to trial the pass, described it as “the future of international travel”. The airline announced this month that it will require all international customers to be fully vaccinated, starting in February – and this pass will be key to that policy.
So how does the IATA Travel Pass work? Here’s what you need to know.
* Air New Zealand introduces “no jab, no fly” policy for international travelers
* How to prove you are vaccinated for international travel under the new vaccination certificate system
* Emirates is the first airline to offer a digital pass worldwide
What is the IATA Travel Pass and why is it needed?
The IATA Travel Pass is an application developed by the International Air Transport Association to revive international travel.
IATA represents 290 airlines, obviously keen to get people flying again. They acknowledged that strict border measures like quarantine deter people from travelling, but also that airlines and governments want to make sure travelers don’t spread Covid-19. So they came up with a tool that travelers could use to prove they had either tested negative for Covid-19 or been fully vaccinated against it.
So it’s a vaccine passport?
Not enough. The IATA Travel Pass is more like a digital version of a travel wallet, which stores the Covid-19 documents you’ll need for your trip.
The app contains a global register of health requirements, so when you enter your flight details it will tell you the exact testing and vaccination requirements for your destination.
It will also show you a list of approved test centers and laboratories where you can go to take your Covid-19 test before departure. These test centers and labs can then send your results directly to your application.
You may also be able to upload your digital vaccine certificate to the app. Currently, the IATA Travel Pass only accepts the EU Digital Covid certificate and the UK NHS Covid Pass, as well as Singapore and Qatar vaccination certificates, as verified proof of vaccination.
Who is using it ?
As mentioned, more than 70 airlines have tested the pass, including Air New Zealand, which has confirmed that it will use it for international travel. Air New Zealand said there would be a “staged rollout” of the pass, but it will work by February 1 when its “no jab, no fly” policy comes into effect.
Qantas, Jetstar, Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways are other airlines currently rolling out the pass on select routes.
Some governments allow travelers to use the IATA Travel Pass to show they also meet border health requirements. In Singapore, for example, you can use the pass to show authorities upon arrival that you have had a negative Covid-19 test.
How can I get it?
The IATA Travel Pass app can be downloaded via the Apple Store or Google Play. Since it’s still mostly in testing right now, you can only access it if your airline has sent you a code.
But when it becomes more widely available, you’ll need to verify your identity by linking the app to your passport.
To do this, you’ll first need to take a selfie (yes, really). The app will then prompt you to scan the data on the two lines at the bottom of the passport photo page and then scan the data chip on the passport.
The application will then associate the selfie with the biometric data of your passport.
When it’s time to travel, after doing everything the app asks, the app will send you an “OK to travel” notification, which you can share with airport check-in staff and authorities border.
Who will use my data?
According to IATA, travelers will control the information shared from their phones with airlines and authorities – there will be no central database or data repository storing the information.
Will it cost anything?
No, the IATA Travel Pass is free for passengers to download and use. Airlines paid to have it as a service.
What if I don’t have or can’t use a phone?
There will be alternatives on paper.