Two U.S.-based airlines — American Airlines Group Inc (NASDAQ:AAL) and Alaska Air Group (NYSE:ALK) — are expanding their use of VeriFLY's mobile app for international travelers who need to provide documentation of negative COVID-19 tests.
How American Is Using VeriFLY: Proof of a negative COVID-19 test is required for all international travelers entering the U.S. and arriving in most airports around the world.
The free VeriFLY app works as digital health passport to provide real-time verification for COVID-19-related information including diagnostic lab results. Users can store proof of COVID-19 tests or documentation of having recovered from the virus, along with other health-related forms.
American Airlines had been testing the app from its hub at Miami International Airport and will now provide it as an option for travelers departing from all of its domestic airports for direct and connecting flights to eight countries: United Kingdom, Canada, Jamaica, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.
American Airlines said its joint business partner, British Airways, which is part of International Consolidated Airlns Grp SA (OTC:BABWF), will be testing the VeriFLY app for passengers flying from London to the U.S.
The company said this marks the first time that two airlines in a trans-Atlantic joint business alliance will accept a common mobile health passport.
"We are constantly looking at ways to make travel easier and simpler for our customers, and navigating testing requirements and validation is a big piece of that," Julie Rath, vice president of customer experience at American Airlines, said in a statement.
The app will "further our common goal of preventing the spread of COVID-19 and ensure compliance with local regulations that have been put in place to protect our customers and team members," she said.
How Alaska Is Using VeriFLY: Alaska Airlines, a subsidiary of the Alaska Air Group, is also making the VeriFLY app available for international travelers arriving in the U.S. on its airplanes. Passengers must present their certified VeriFLY profile to an Alaska Airlines agent, which is their first point of contact upon arrival, according to the airline.
When the guest's information is validated, the guest can continue normal check-in without additional test verification.
VeriFLY is owned by Doan, a privately held software company.
What's Next: VeriFLY app use is not mandatory, but is being encouraged to help speed the passenger processing times at airports. Nor is it the only app of its kind.
A similar digital health wallet is being developed by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which plans to conduct a trial with Panama's Copa Airlines next month for travel within Latin America.
This app, called the IATA Travel Pass, is also being considered by Qatar Airways, and United Arab Emirates' Etihad and Emirates airways. The European Commission is also studying a potential digital health wallet app for use by its member nations.
Photo courtesy of American Airlines.