Insider Report 4/8/2021

In this week's newsletter, the debut of vaccination passports, our top air travel stories and more! We have our office open 24/7 so if there are any questions or thoughts we can help with feel free to give us a call

Trending Travel News

Vaccine Passports Are Here: 
What you Need To Know

 

     After performing successful trials on international flights between Singapore and London in March, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) is ready to release their Travel Pass App this month.  Variations of “vaccination passports” are beginning to show up more from different countries and travel companies, but what exactly is a vaccination passport?
 

What Is a Vaccination Passport and how does it work?

     Vaccination Passports are being developed to move forward in reopening travel.  A Vaccination Passport will allow for border officials, airline staff, and others to verify a traveler’s vaccination status or COVID-19 test results in order to travel or enter a public venue.

     IATA’s app, which will first be released to iPhone iOS users on April 15th, will store verified COVID-19 test results and vaccination certificates, as well as a digital version of a travelers passport.  Travelers will also be able to check entry requirements for their destination and the app may eventually incorporate bio-metric information, such as a digital thumbprint or facial recognition software, to better protect the traveler’s data.  Currently 23 airlines are testing Travel Pass and airlines will also have the option to integrate the data into their own apps.

     Clear, the traveler registration company also has a Health Pass feature in their own app that collects and manages vaccination records in partnership with The Commons Project Foundation.  The Commons Project, in partnership with the World Economic Forum, has their own app as well, Common Pass.  Common Pass will store vaccination and test data as well as have the ability to link with iOS and Android Health Apps.  United Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airways and JetBlue Airways have signed on as initial partners with the app, which is currently only available to a limited number of travelers via invitation code.
 

Who did it first?

     The travel industry was not the first to introduce the idea, in fact, New York State recently debuted the nation’s first health passport, Excelsior.  Excelsior is an optional program New-Yorkers can use either via the web or a smartphone app to upload vaccination data or test results from vaccination sites and labs.  Ticket takers, bouncers and others can easily verify entry to shows, sports venues, and more by using the person’s photo ID and code created through the app to generate a green check.  A beta test of the app at a Buffalo Bills game discovered “almost negligible” rates of transmission.

 

What has been the response?

     A study performed in February by the travel technology company, Amadeus, found that 9 out of 10 travelers are comfortable with using vaccination passports to help restart travel.  The study conducted with travelers in France, Spain, Germany, India, the United Arab Emirates, Russia, Singapore, the UK and the US, also found that about 93% of those surveyed also said they had concerns about how health data would be stored for the passport.  

     Other privacy advocates have also echoed this concern and are worried about sensitive health information being vulnerable to hacking or misuse.  App developers counter this argument by using secure and encrypted channels for labs to send test results and vaccination confirmations.  Developers also argue that using blockchain technology, which makes it difficult or even impossible to hack data, will build consumer confidence.  

     Supporters hope that vaccination passports will help life return to “normal”, help countries reopen their economies, encourage more people to get vaccinated, and help protect front-line workers in the travel and hospitality industry. 
 



National Travel is committed to helping all travelers – even if you aren’t our client!  We can assist you in securing vaccinations and/or testing at both your home city and destination location, regardless of the country.
All travelers may contact National Travel’s concierge desk for any assistance; from booking travel to answering simple travel questions. Please feel free to contact us for the latest information on suppliers, airlines, cruise lines, and tour companies about Vaccination Passports and Health Certificates.

Airline Updates

Check out our weekly top 5 Air Travel updates below!
Image Source: Kristina Flour via Unsplash

Southwest Introduces “Non-Verbal” Ordering 

 
The airline will bring back in-flight soft drinks, but wants their travels to “keep quiet” about it.

Delta Will No Longer Block Center Seats

 

Beginning, May 1st, the airline will no longer be blocking the middle seats on their flights, citing an increase in travel and inoculations.

Image Source: Nick Morales via Unsplash
Image Source: Michal Parzuchow via Unsplash

Domestic Leisure Travel Back to Pre-Pandemic Levels

 

United Airlines CEO, Scott Kirby, says that the demand for domestic leisure travel has “almost entirely recovered.”

 

 

Autism Advocate Pushes for More TSA Training

 

TSA will participate in training to better assist travelers with Autisim and will adopt a Communication Impediment Designation from states.

 

Image Source: Graham Ruttan via Unsplash
Image Source: Tim Gouw via Unsplash

United Offers Flexibility on Travel Agency Tickets

 

As of April 1, United has announced that they will permanently eliminate change fees, and will now offer more flexibility on tickets purchased through a travel agency.

 

Now Open in Travel

12 Destinations You Can Visit More Easily When Vaccinated



Avoid tricky restrictions and travel rules after you’ve been vaccinated at these 12 destinations!

Image Source: Annie Spratt via Unsplash

Is Your Passport Valid?

 

If you plan to travel internationally in 2021, now is a great time to check your passport validity!  

As a general rule, passports should be valid for at least 6 months after the intended date of travel, but these rules may also vary depending on your destination.  

The current normal processing time for passports is 10-12 weeks, so there is no time like now to get started on your renewal.

Need assistance with renewing or applying for your passport?

Give us a call today!

Need to find a testing center before your next trip?

National Travel is closely monitoring the ever-changing testing requirements and restrictions for destinations all over the world.  We are pleased to assist our clients in finding their closest testing site and staying up to date on the latest travel requirements for their next trip.  Currently, testing is only required for international travel, but for our travelers’ safety and convenience, we are able to provide information on the closest testing facilities for a number of different tests, including Rapid Molecular, PCR, and Antigen testing.

Your safety and peace of mind while traveling is so important to us.  National Travel will continue to empower our clients with information and resources to help you feel as safe as possible when you travel with us.
Click here to find testing near you!

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook for more travel news and information as well as updates on life here at the National Travel Office!  

We also have an Instagram page where you can see some amazing travel photography from all around the world! 

Reminder!!

Don’t forget to give us a call at least three days prior to your trip and request your complimentary Smart Travel Kit!

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