JetBlue, United Join Movement Toward a Health Passport

Category: Transportation

JetBlue, United Join Movement Toward a Health Passport

Photo: Markus Mainka/
Story:by Jessica Montevago /

As the world waits for COVID-19 vaccines to be distributed worldwide, airlines are making an effort to get consumers traveling safely in the meantime.

Five of the world’s largest airlines have unveiled a plan to roll out digital health passports, allowing their passengers with a recorded negative COVID-19 test to travel internationally without needing to quarantine.

Begininng Dec. 15, passengers traveling on JetBlue, Lufthansa, Swiss International Airlines, United Airlines, and Virgin Atlantic will have access to the app, called CommonPass, which will allow them to record their COVID-19 status and show it at the airport.

The CommonPass saves the user’s test results on their mobile device, along with any other health screening information that is required by the destination country they are visiting, and then generates a QR code that can be printed or scanned by airline staff to confirm the passenger’s health status.

The pass will also enable travelers to find verified testing centers and labs at their point of departure that meet the standards and requirements of their destination to avoid quarantine rules and travel restrictions. It is not mandatory for travelers, but is the first standardized testing system in travel across various carriers and countries.

The goal, if widely used by the public, is to revive international air travel with the seamless and safe testing protocol, which has widely been seen as one of the biggest solutions to dampened travel demand caused by COVID-19, absence of a readily available vaccine.

"Testing is the first key to enable international travel without quarantine measures. The second key is the global information infrastructure needed to securely manage, share and verify test data matched with traveler identities in compliance with border control requirements," Alexandre de Juniac, IATA CEO, said in a statement on Monday.

The CommonPass, created by Swiss non-profit The Commons Project Foundation, was first tested in October on Cathway Pacific Airways for flights between Hong Kong and Singapore and United Airlines flights between London and New York. Currently, the plan is to be able to use it on flights departing out of New York, Boston, London, and Hong Kong.

The CommonPass isn't the only effort being made toward a digital health passport, either. IATA recently said it was moving toward its own digital health recorder, called the IATA Travel Pass, which would help passengers test and record results globally.

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