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Airlines Want Different Name for “COVID-19 Passport” Apps

Airlines Want Different Name for “COVID-19 Passport” Apps
Joe Cortez

Although flyers will most likely face COVID-19 testing or vaccination document requirements for international travel this year, airlines are hoping they will be known by a name other than passport. Executives are hoping to brand the digital apps as “credentials,” worried that “passport” will carry negative connotations.

When flyers are allowed to travel internationally this year, they will most likely need to provide documentation of their current COVID-19 status, in the form of a negative test or proof of vaccination. While the term “health passport” has been thrown around, airline executives are hopeful they will be called something else. In an interview with Yahoo Finance, aviation leaders said the term “passport” could have a negative effect on international travel recovery.

Leaders Prefer “Credential” Over “Passport” to Make Travel Friendly Again

Since the development of the IATA Travel Pass and Commons Foundation CommonPass, both were colloquially given the title of “passport” because of their function. The digital apps are to be presented with other international travel documents, and may be required for entry into another country. In comments to Yahoo Finance, Delta Air Lines chief executive Ed Bastian says he’s hopeful they won’t be called “passports.”

“We don’t call it [the digital COVID-19 document apps] a vaccine passport. It carries too many connotations,” Bastian said during the interview. “[Delta is] more focused on a credential, travel credential, if you will, to indicate that you’ve been vaccinated and or tested based on the regulatory requirements.”

As Internet users were quick to point out, some destinations require a vaccination passport proving vaccination status before flyers even step on an aircraft. As the race continues to develop a standard, airlines don’t want the novel Coronavirus to get the “passport” brand, as they fear it could discourage travelers from buying tickets to visit their favorite destinations.

Furthermore, the confusing standards could create issues for flyers who are trying to facilitate their travel plans moving forward. Creating an international health passport standard could potentially “resemble a [Department of Motor Vehicles-type bureaucracy] on steroids,” Mike Boyd of consulting firm Boyd Group International told Yahoo Finance.

Because countries won’t commit to a single app, the best hope is that requirements will be clearly communicated before travelers arrive at the airport – regardless of which standard the airline chooses to use.

America Sits on Sidelines of COVID-19 “Passport” Debate

The continued controversy comes as the White House continues to stay away from naming a preferred digital documentation standard for international travel. Even after being asked by travel and aviation stakeholders to get involved, the executive branch of the U.S. government said they would not get involved in selecting one standard over the other.

View Comments (13)

13 Comments

  1. Dr.Ells

    April 20, 2021 at 11:40 pm

    You can’t buy a spine in the supermarket.
    So, the USA falls further behind the world.
    For God’s sake, grow a pair and decide.
    Semantics are NOT part of this game.

  2. vargha

    April 21, 2021 at 10:12 am

    Why not just call them “Papers”? Airline personnel could simply say, “Show me your papers.”

  3. azmojo

    April 21, 2021 at 10:23 am

    Again, if the vaccines work and everyone who wants a vaccine wants one, why does we care if an unvaccinated person whats to travel?

  4. DeltaFlyer123

    April 21, 2021 at 10:24 am

    When I was a kid in elementary school in Canada, we needed a vaccination certificate against the polio virus to be allowed to enroll in public school. I actually found a couple of mine from 1959 and 1960 in my mother’s box of old documents. What’s wrong with having a digital version of that for Covid19? It’s not like a new problem that needs a solution, it’s an old problem that already has a solution.

  5. toxman

    April 21, 2021 at 10:31 am

    What a dumb argument over semantics. While we’re at, why don’t we change the name of a Passport (the kind that announces your citizenship) to International Travel Document? Sheesh.

  6. Jamester

    April 21, 2021 at 10:39 am

    They are thinking too hard. :) “Pass”. Call it “Pass”. Boarding Pass, Covid-19 Pass, etc.

  7. arcticflier

    April 21, 2021 at 1:55 pm

    Creating an international health passport standard could potentially “resemble a [Department of Motor Vehicles-type bureaucracy] on steroids,” Mike Boyd of consulting firm Boyd Group International told Yahoo Finance.

    Yep.

  8. bozacksmith

    April 21, 2021 at 3:09 pm

    aviation leaders said the term “passport” could have a negative effect on international travel recovery. Um try again…..

    Mandating any testing requirements will be the kiss of death for any international or domestic travel recovery. Just ask Hawaii and the other states still on lock down requiring tests etc….

  9. ezefllying

    April 21, 2021 at 9:45 pm

    “Again, if the vaccines work and everyone who wants a vaccine wants one, why does we care if an unvaccinated person whats to travel?”

    Because many countries are hoping to achieve herd immunity and prevent the introduction of vaccine-resistant variants. If you’re a tourist-heavy country, like Iceland, you can have every citizen vaccinated and still lose herd immunity, and thus risk a smoldering, evolving epidemic, if your tourists, who account for a huge percentage of people in your jurisdiction any given moment, aren’t covered.

    And, the vaccines are extremely effective, to the tune of 90%+, they’re still not perfect, so countries have an interest in keeping out those who could reintroduce the virus and spawn breakthrough infections.

    Plus, at least for a while, many countries won’t have substantial vaccine supply, and, even in the U.S., the vaccines aren’t yet approved for kids.

  10. ezefllying

    April 21, 2021 at 9:48 pm

    I agree that “passport” sounds bad — it comes off as yet another bureaucratic imposition — but I don’t think “credential” is much better. Both sound like you have to beg some organization for the privilege of travel.

    Just call it what it really is: A confirmation. “Please provide a confirmation of your covid-19 vaccination.” That doesn’t sound awful to me. And it doesn’t have the suspicious cutesiness of a “credential” or whatever other euphemism someone’s come up with.

  11. awayIgo

    April 23, 2021 at 12:25 pm

    People need to grow up and stop playing word games! Get vaccinated and get proof that has an element of security. My American vaccine card can easily be forged. If you don’t want the vaccine or passport- don’t travel! There is no “right”: to travel internationally. It is a privilege!

  12. t_cliff

    April 29, 2021 at 1:39 pm

    What about those who should not be vaccinated, like pregnant, chronic illness, elderly, etc?

  13. UncleDude

    May 2, 2021 at 8:42 am

    Sometime the Travel overseas is essential. Certainly for somebody trying to return to their own Country. Not all countries are the same size as USA.

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