Passengers on BA flights from London to India will be the first to test out the airline’s new online COVID-19 travel documentation system. The trial arrives as BA prepare for the return of international travel later this year.
With the threat of travel disruption, the British airline giant hopes to make post-lockdown flying as seamless and efficient as possible for its customers.
A “frictionless experience in a new Covid era”
Travellers will now be able to upload the documentation needed for flying during the pandemic to the airline’s website before they go to the airport.
Negative COVID-19 tests, vaccine information and all necessary travel declaration forms are acceptable documents in the new system.
It’s important to remember, the documentation needed is decided by the government of the traveller’s destination – not by BA. The new documentation service offered by the airline simply intends to streamline the process for its customers. Relevant travellers can check-in 24 hours before they fly, and BA will check all documents uploaded to the system within six hours.
The process should enable fliers travelling to India from the UK on BA flights to skip queues at the airport. The CEO of British Airways, Sean Doyle, commented that “The key benefit of customers being able to upload the correct travel documentation into their booking, is that it enables them to check-in online, speeding up the airport process”.
BA customers can upload their documents using the ‘Manage My Booking’ feature on the British Airways website. More details on the specific entry requirements are available there, allowing fliers to upload declaration forms and COVID-19 test results.
All customers to whom this system applies will receive an email from BA with directions to the website.
The new ways to fly
While currently, the system will only be available to a small percentage of customers, BA seeks to extend the trial to more destinations within the following months. This will also see the trial extended to the British Airways app, making it even easier to handle the complications of flying in the new COVID era.
The trial arrives in addition to BA’s use of a digital health travel passport VeriFly, rolled out in February earlier this year. VeriFly is BA’s attempt to create a “digital health travel wallet and document verification solution” and is currently available on flights from the UK to Canada and the US.
VeriFly works as an app that BA customers may download to their mobile devices. Similarly to BA’s new system for fliers to India, VeriFly allows users to upload their vaccination details or COVID test results depending on their destination’s health requirements.
We can expect BA to integrate the app into more of their systems in future, with Sean Doyle stating,
“we are continually exploring the best possible options to help our customers return to the skies, safely”.
Words by Jonathan Ritchie