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United Travel Ready Center Becomes First Digital COVID-19 Pass

As passengers continue to contend with travel restrictions due to COVID-19, United Airlines is rolling out a digital health passport to help flyers keep documents in one place. The Travel-Ready Center will give flyers warnings about current regulations, and allow them to upload vaccination and test result information to share with local authorities.

United Airlines is the first among the legacy carriers to launch a digital health passport, allowing flyers to upload their COVID-19 test results and vaccination information before their trip. The industry-first Travel-Ready Center will integrate into the United smartphone app and website experience, giving flyers a one-stop resource for everything related to their next trip.

New Online Feature Makes Travelers Aware of Restrictions and Helps Navigate Procedures

The new feature allows ticketed United flyers to get ahead of any COVID-related requirements at their destination before entering the airport. Through the service center, flyers can determine if testing is required prior to arrival, along with the option to schedule a test at over 15,000 locations around the world. Test results can be securely uploaded to United’s Travel-Ready Center, which may be shared with designated United employees for verification.

For those planning international travel, United flyers can also upload their COVID-19 vaccination records into the app. Once a passenger’s required documents for travel have been verified, the Travel-Ready center will change messages, from alerting that information is needed to confirming they are ready to travel.

“While pre-travel testing and documentation are key to safely reopening global travel, we know it can be confusing for customers when they’re preparing for a flight,” Linda Jojo, executive vice president for technology and chief digital officer at United, said in a press release. “Starting today, our ‘Travel-Ready Center’ gives customers a personalized, step-by-step guide of what is needed for their trip, a simple way to upload required documents and quickly get their boarding pass, fully integrated within our app and website.”

The new feature on the United.com website and mobile apps are the latest ways United is adjusting their customer service options to respond to travel during the novel Coronavirus outbreak. In December 2020, the airline launched their “Agent on Demand” feature, allowing flyers to connect with a United customer service employee live via videochat over their itinerary or other needs as they fly through the airline’s hubs.

Hoping Travel Demand Increases, Aviation Groups Continue Work on Health Passports

Although the new feature is a step in the right direction for United, it’s short of a full health passport with integration with partner airlines. For that, United entered a partnership with the Commons Project Foundation to launch a separate app. Lufthansa and JetBlue are also partners in the digital health pass group.

Meanwhile, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) is still working on their digital health passport, set to be launched in the first quarter of 2021. Middle East carriers Emirates and Etihad Airways have signed on to be the launch customers of that product.

Feature image courtesy: United Airlines

makfan January 27, 2021

Not personally ready to travel unnecessarily yet. When I am ready (only after I have had all doses of the vaccine), it will be within the US to avoid getting stranded in a foreign country due to ever-changing rules. I will travel internationally again at some point, I just don't know when that will be.

montone59 January 27, 2021

However imperfect and early primitive and riddled with problems, I welcome any small step in the direction of the possibility of developing a covid vaccination type of ‘passport’

c502cid January 27, 2021

While the world of absurdity continues to spiral out of control with the vaccine makers immune from lawsuits if the rushed and very unproven vax causes harm, my bets are legal teams are foaming at the mouth to go after a company that forces their employees to take a vax and something happens because of it.

sfcharles1 January 27, 2021

Important to note, there is no new App, or download: Customers with an active reservation can access the Travel-Ready Center through the "My Trips" section of the United App and on united.com. Don't look for things to get easier or "simpler", until we have control over this virus. But we will continue to have a very active TSA, restrictive rules, and details like COVID to deal with, as travelers. Take a deep breath, give yourself the treat of having lounge access, buy First/Business, and make the journey as comfortable as possible.

kabroui January 26, 2021

Have to agree with Dr.Ells here... also they are 'simplifying' things by all developing their own independent apps .. (I just downloaded Verifly courtesy of AA and I see IATA is developing one as well.) Won't this be fun when airlines won't accept each others verifications. Plus how on earth is CDC vax info to be verified and uploaded? And as long as there is some risk that I'm going to miss my flight because of a false positive on a test for something I've had a vaccine for, or worse yet, get hauled off to a hospital (e.g. Thailand) and held at my expense... well I too will stay home and resume my travels when it's simple again.