This summer, Qatar Airways became the first carrier to successfully verify vaccine status with the IATA Travel Pass. The Doha-based airline was also the first airline in the Middle East to launch the pass, doing so on its Istanbul route on March 11th. Amid this progress, Simple Flying caught up with Mr. Rossen Dimitrov, Chief Officer Customer Experience of Qatar Airways, about the growth of the initiative.
Qatar Airways is pleased with the results so far. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying
Qatar Airways’ leadership expresses that the Travel Pass is one of the best solutions for travel going forward. The airline initially started testing it for loading PCR test information and related details. Then, last month, the carrier expanded the program to integrate vaccination certificates in the ‘Digital Passport’ mobile app.
Altogether, passengers can now upload their certificates to their mobile securely and safely. The trial is being rolled out in phases, with flight attendants traveling from London, Kuwait, Los Angeles, New York, Paris, and Sydney initially testing it out.
Qatar Airways has been keen to be on top of new health measures since the rise of the global health crisis. Photo: Qatar Airways
A positive response
Dimitrov shares that these trials have been working out well, spurring Qatar Airways to take the next step. He emphasizes that the virus isn’t going anywhere. So, with all the new health measures in place, there needs to be a seamless approach to help passengers travel smoothly.
“We were very pleased with the trial, and it was very well accepted. Not only by our customers during the PCR testing phase but also with the authorities while we were doing the vaccination certificate trial. It went really well, and I think it’s the step in the right approach. COVID is here to stay. It’s going to be a part of our life, and it’s the new normal,” Dimitrov told Simple Flying.
“We just have to make sure that we provide those seamless opportunities for our customers to still travel around the world safely, and to be able to minimise paperwork and minimise the headache for people experience nowadays by getting the PCR tests, certificates, and so on, on one global application that will make it much, much easier.”
With several different health passes being rolled out, there needs to be integration to ensure passengers can connect to different regions safely and efficiently. Photo: IATA
Collaboration is key
Dimitrov highlights that those behind the pass are in communication with governments across the globe where they will be able to combine all of the different certificates. He feels that Travel Pass will be able to harmonize all the information to have a one-stop check.
Qatar Airways concludes that the application is great because it’s in the control of the passengers. The customers decide what to share, who they want to share it with, and how they share it. Overall, the program will help to make the customer journey more simplified amid the plethora of new global travel requirements.
Altogether, more and more passengers are returning to the skies as borders slowly open up in several key markets. In order for travel to remain open, airlines and the wider industry need to show that health requirements can be met easily. Thus, the IATA travel pass will play a crucial role in this next chapter.
What are your thoughts about the IATA Travel Pass? Have you had the chance to try it out yet? Let us know what you think of the application and its prospects in the comment section.