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American Airlines extends biometric health status app, Vision-Box forecasts new travel era

Specter of mandatory health status checks looms over travel industry
American Airlines extends biometric health status app, Vision-Box forecasts new travel era

American Airlines has announced that beginning December 22nd, passengers travelling from Miami International Airport (MIA) to destinations in Colombia, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador can use Daon‘s VeriFLY, a biometric mobile health wallet which enables passengers to track and verify their coronavirus testing and documentation requirements. Mobile download has been available since December 18th.

After creating a secure profile on the VeriFLY app, Daon verifies that the customer’s data matches a country’s requirements and displays a simple pass or fail message. This message streamlines the check-in and documentation verification process at the airport before departure with biometrics.

The partnership between Daon and American on VeriFLY was announced with Chile as the first supported destination weeks ago.

Using VeriFLY will help to ensure passengers are meeting the government-required entry guidelines and access an expedited check-in lane in the North Terminal. In this lane, they can simply show their approved “pass” validation on the app during check-in. American Airlines passengers traveling to Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador will also be able to use LetsGetChecked (an at-home test with results in 48 hours) for their required, pre-flight COVID-19 test from December.

“Travel and testing requirements can be complex and using apps such as VeriFLY and offering testing through LetsGetChecked can make the process easier and more straightforward for our customers,” said Julie Rath, VP of Customer Experience at American Airlines. She added that “Customers using VeriFLY are saving more than 10 minutes on average during check-in, while also having the peace of mind that they have completed all the necessary requirements that their destination currently has in place.”

Vision-Box introduces newly designed touchless travel technology and customer centric journeys

The “next frontier of travel” is imminent under the so-called COVID era, Vision-Box announced on its blog. Having championed touchless biometric technologies in the travel sector for fifteen years Vision-Box are now ensuring a smooth and streamlined traveler experience across air, land and sea. The company have channeled knowledge of the virus transmission into cutting edge contactless biometric identity solutions and touchless mobile interactions, including designs centered on the human experience, and hygiene recommendations for equipment.

Using facial recognition systems to handle passenger flows means that border guards will have more time to assess and analyze passengers’ behaviors and patterns. Alessandro Minucci, Vision-Box’s head of Product Management and Market Intelligence, says that using biometrics will fundamentally change the relationship between traveler flow and security and describes a future in which a “mobile ecosystem will eventually replace traditional devices.”

This is due to increased reliability where software is able to compare millions of computer-readable data points at a time, versus a human looking at a photograph. Minucci describes that travelers will be able to use their smartphones to interact with physical touchpoints, like self-service kiosks. Reliable systems are more important than ever during the pandemic to avoid border bottlenecks which can lead to clustering and a high concentration of travelers in a confined space.

Vision-Box provides all customers with clear guidelines on how to use cleaning products on the devices. These solutions are necessary to build back traveler confidence and help the entire industry regain strength.

Vaccine-dependent travel in discussion and digital travel systems working with airlines

Elsewhere, there is debate in the travel sector around vaccine dependent travel, as Bloomberg reports. Gloria Guevara, head of the World Travel and Tourism Council, says that mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations would “kill their sector.”

Alan Joyce, CEO of Qantas Airways Ltd., ignited an industry wide debate last month when he said proof of vaccination would be a condition for travelers entering or leaving Australia on the carrier’s planes. Though airlines have been hit hard by the pandemic (global airline lobby IATA forecast combined losses of $157 billion this year and next), no country has claimed the vaccine will be compulsory for entry.

Other digital innovations in progress for the travel sector include the AOKpass from travel security firm International SOS, which is being used on flights between Abu Dhabi and Karachi and Islamabad in Pakistan. IATA is working on its own mobile app, the Travel Pass, and is planning a test program with British Airways parent IAG SA this year, while CommonTrust Network, a Swiss non-profit, is rolling out a digital health system called CommonPass designed to certify test results to minimize the risk of fraud.

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