Starting on April 16th, Virgin Atlantic plans to pilot the digital pass on its London to Barbados route. The Caribbean island will accept the app at its border, making it one of the first countries to admit a digital pass instead of paper documentation.
In addition to storing vaccine certificates and the results of COVID-19 tests, you can use the software to create a digital version of your passport. It also includes a database of local travel restrictions and restrictions, so you can easily find out what you need before you fly somewhere. Any personal information you add to the app is stored locally on your device, and there’s a secure, encrypted channel for labs to send over test results and vaccine confirmation.
The IATA Travel Pass isn’t the first COVID-19 passport. In the US, that distinction goes to the digital Excelsior Pass New York state launched last week. The IATA is positioning the app as a way to speed up check-ins, particularly as more and more people feel it’s safe enough to fly again. Whether it actually helps will depend on airlines, airports and countries adopting the standard.