American Airlines Will Let Travelers Use Digital Vaccine Passports in Lieu of Carrying Paper Copies
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Mask and travel restrictions are slowly being lifted for those vaccinated against Covid-19, but the concept of carrying around a paper vaccination card in order to show proof seems not only tedious but also unsustainable.
For major airlines, venues and high-traffic spaces, it seems as though proving vaccination through a digital portal, card or app might be a easier and more convenient.
This week, American Airlines announced that it will be doing precisely that for travelers jet-setting out of the country to the Bahamas, El Salvador and Guatemala.
Through the VeriFLY app, passengers can safely upload their vaccination documents prior to leaving for the airport and make the process of traveling abroad that much more streamlined.
“As countries reopen to those who have been vaccinated, we are ready with VeriFLY to help our customers travel with confidence,” vice president of customer experience at American Airlines, Julie Rath, says.
Customers flying to the three approved international destinations can upload a photo of their vaccination cards directly into the app for review. They will then receive either a “pass” or “fail” message.
Travelers who “pass” the vaccination requirements will eventually have to re-enter their information within a given time window, with the app prompting them to do so when necessary.
American Airlines itself does not require vaccination for customers traveling domestically or internationally, but restrictions in different destinations might require customers traveling on the airline to be vaccinated.
The partnership with VeriFLY could indicate what the future of airline travel in a post-pandemic world might look like, with uploading proof of immunization potentially becoming a regular part of the check-in process for international travelers.
This foray into the digital health space could set American Airlines ahead of other airlines in adapting to the new travel landscape as borders begin to open and high-traffic airports and destinations begin to return to normal operations.
Still, the CDC urges travelers who are not vaccinated to not travel internationally at all, and cautions those who are against the potential risks still at bay: “Fully vaccinated travelers are less likely to get and spread Covid-19,” the CDC said in a statement. “However, international travel poses additional risks, and even fully vaccinated travelers might be at increased risk for getting and possibly spreading some Covid-19 variants.”
The CDC also suggests all international travelers take a Covid-19 test three to five days after they return to the states.
The U.S. is currently No. 1 in the world for vaccination rates among countries with a population of over 100 million.