- IATA announced a plan to introduce a digital travel pass application on iOS.
- The firm is looking to introduce ways to speed up check-ins and make passengers feel safer.
- COVID-19 passports could be a practical solution, but it’s certainly not without its flaws.
IATA (International Air Transport Association) is looking into ways to help restore air travel to the glorious days of the (recent) past. For this to happen, the COVID-19 element needs to get out of the way somehow. As the agency reported today through its Regional Vice President, Kamil Alawadhi, the plan is to launch a digital travel pass on Apple’s mobile platform by April 15, 2021. That’s only two weeks away, and reportedly, the pass is being tested right now.
This pass will be linked to negative COVID-19 test results as well as vaccine certificates, so essentially, it is going to help speed up check-ins at the airport. This way, air travel will retain some of its comforts and will also feel safer as standing on static queues indoors isn’t helping at all on that part. For this reason, and as Alawadhi stated, there’s a large number of airlines that have already requested to take part in this new system.
Exactly because this new digital pass’s success depends on how widely it will be adopted, the news about airlines being so warmly interested is music to IATA’s ears. But of course, countries and airport authorities will also have to follow suit. And then, if the iOS app succeeds, we see no reason for IATA not to port it to Android too and cover the entire traveling audience. In fact, it’s somewhat weird that the roll-out isn’t being simultaneous, but maybe this has to do with the testing of the core functions.
Vaccine passports that can be comfortably stored in smartphones and produced any time anywhere sound like a great idea to put our train back on the rails, but they will inevitably create distinctions between travelers. We already see different “freedom tiers” among those who have been vaccinated and those who haven’t. We have no doubt that given enough time, this could create social segmentation, as the dividing line may gradually be drawn in all aspects of everyday life, not just air travel.