For as much as the world traveled prior to the COVID pandemic, there is a huge pent up demand for travel to resume. Although it may be years before we approach a pre-pandemic normal, there is a project to speed up the process. Trying to set up a universal approach to understanding country requirements and standardization of reporting, Mobile App CommonPass may make travel possible again in the near future in spite of the pandemic.
At PointMe, we have been providing readers with the latest information on country reopenings and entry requirements due to the Coronavirus. You can read our reopening guides to the Caribbean, Latin America, South America and Europe.
Information changes rapidly and is not always complete. In addition, the requirements do not follow a uniform reporting format. CommonPass wants to standardize all the essential elements necessary to get travel reopened. The CommonPass project operates under the Commons Project Foundation, a Swiss-based non-profit public trust, and the World Economic Forum.
Mobile App CommonPass Trials Have Begun
The CommonPass app begins trials with partners Cathay Pacific and United Airlines. The tech startup is testing a digital solution, provided via a mobile app, beginning with travelers in Hong Kong London, New York and Singapore.
The first passengers to test the first attempt at a global travel system for COVID-19 will be volunteers from Cathay Pacific. These customers have agreed to put the CommonPass system to trial by flying from Hong Kong to Singapore and then onward to London’s Heathrow airport. Along their way each will have QR codes generated from the app. They will have these scanned along the journey as they transit through airports. The CommonPass QR codes are scanned as they check in for their flights.
The same procedure follows for going through passport control. Scanning will provide information that the passenger is complying with the Coronavirus rules in place at each destination. United Airlines starts their CommonPass trials later this month. Those passengers will fly from New York’s Newark Airport to London’s Heathrow. If all goes well, CommonPass hopes to expand the program to an additional 15 other countries over the coming months.
How Does Mobile App CommonPass Work
In practice, each government uploads its COVID-19 requirements into a standard format. Travelers can use the app to find a certified medical lab to have their COVID-19 test completed. The lab results are uploaded to the CommonPass mobile app. Furthermore, the app can store vaccine (once one is available) information, making travel even easier.
After successfully getting the information, the CommonPass mobile app automatically converts the data into a QR code. That QR code certifies your requirements for travel. Travelers then merely scan the QR code when booking a ticket. From there, the CommonPass mobile app matches the information with the destination country’s entry requirements.
Similarly, the QR code can also be scanned to pass through immigration by proving to border officials that you are eligible to pass. However the app will not reveal any specific health details. Privacy is maintained while providing the necessary assurances of eligibility to enter the destination country.
Besides this, the CommonPass QR code will be able to notify airport officials whether air travelers meet local COVID-19 health requirements.
Here’s a video which details the project:
The Key is Consistency Between Partners
For the program to be triumphant, commitment to standardization of requirements, testing and reporting are paramount.
I’ve put together a chart to demonstrate the commitments required from each partner in the CommonPass project to ensure success.
There are some strong supporters for CommonPass.
It has support from American Express Global Business Travel. Collinson, globally known for its Priority Pass airport lounge program, plus insurance and medical services to the travel industry. Cathay Pacific and United Airlines are the current airline partners. The Commons Project started with support from The Rockefeller Foundation.
But the best news may be that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have announced that they are officially observing these trial runs as per Bloomberg.
Anything that helps restart travel and gets those employed in the travel industry back to work, is great news. Just recently, we had an entire crew working an American Airlines flight furloughed (using in-flight PA to say goodbye). My hope is that the trials are a great success and that all governments will eventually sign on as partners in this ambitious program.
Maybe you are ready to download the app and soon head off for your next destination. If you are, make sure you read how to make the airlines pay for your hotel room for free.
What’s your take on the Mobile App CommonPass? Would it get you back flying?
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