Virgin Atlantic and Delta Air Lines partner on new integrated digital health tool to streamline transatlantic journeys
- Virgin Atlantic FlyReady and Delta FlyReadySM will be the digital blueprint to reopen transatlantic travel
- The solution will initially help customers find, book and prove they have the correct Covid-19 tests to fly, linking their FlyReady status to their booking, to speed up the airport experience.
Virgin Atlantic and Delta Air Lines will make customers’ transatlantic journeys easier and seamless as international travel restarts this summer, with the introduction of a new ‘FlyReady’ status linked to pre-verified Covid-19 health credentials.
It comes following last week’s creation of the bilateral Atlantic Taskforce, a first step towards reopening the skies between the UK and US, recognising the importance of the UK-US travel corridor for businesses, families and consumers.
Customers traveling between the UK and the US in either direction will be the first to use Virgin Atlantic FlyReady, a new digital health management tool, available from this week. The solution will speed up the airport experience for customers, enabling them to upload and verify test results within the three days before departure and proceed smoothly through pre-flight checks with airline agents on the day of travel.
Harnessing innovative technology from TrustAssureTM, Virgin Atlantic FlyReady is fully integrated into customers’ online journeys through virginatlantic.com, where they can navigate to the tool from the My Booking page, with no third-party app download needed.
Using Virgin Atlantic FlyReady and Delta FlyReadySM, customers will be able to:
- Securely upload and verify a test certificate from any valid testing provider, in advance of travel, up to 90 minutes before departure. TrustAssure’s robust artificial intelligence (A.I.) based solution generates a response to confirm test validity in less than two minutes, after which customers’ FlyReady status is confirmed. Virgin Atlantic’s preferred at-home testing provider Prenetics offers carry-along lateral flow Covid-19 tests for £26 for the mandatory pre-departure test to arrive in England and will soon offer video observed tests for pre-departure tests to enter the US.
- Where a customer prefers an in-person Covid-19 test, they can find and book a provider up to three days prior to departure using a lab locator tool. Customers simply enter their town or postcode to find nearby testing locations, then apply filters based on lab proximity and the type of test required.
- Save time at the airport during Check In and boarding with FlyReady status automatically linked to the customer’s booking reference, meaning fewer checks are required by airline agents. A dedicated fast-track Check In lane for customers with FlyReady status will be available for Virgin Atlantic customers at London Heathrow.
Delta Air Lines, Virgin Atlantic’s Joint Venture partner, has led the development and testing of the tool with TrustAssure, in further progress towards end-to-end digital health integration. Its sister solution, Delta FlyReadySM, will be available for customers where a transatlantic flight is Delta-operated. The launch version of the product will support Covid-19 test results as the health credential for travel, in line with countries’ current entry requirements, with plans to integrate vaccination status later this summer. It means that if entry requirements for the UK or US evolve to exempt fully vaccinated customers from quarantine or testing requirements, then Virgin Atlantic FlyReady can be easily adapted to offer integrated vaccine status for customers.
Corneel Koster, Chief Customer & Operating Officer, Virgin Atlantic said:
“Virgin Atlantic FlyReady will help to strengthen customers’ confidence as they return to the skies with us, by making their transatlantic journeys as smooth and seamless as possible, while navigating new Covid-19 travel requirements in a convenient digital format. Our commitment is to ensure every single customer flies safe and well and we’re delighted to be working closely with our partners Delta Air Lines and TrustAssureTM to launch this innovative integrated solution, which will be further developed to include vaccination status.
“With world-leading vaccination programmes in both the UK and US, there is a clear opportunity to safely open up travel between these two low-risk countries and allow vaccinated travellers to be free from testing and quarantine, consistent with the approach taken by the US and the EU. We urge the UK Government to move the US to the UK’s ‘Green list’ and for the Biden administration to repeal the 212F proclamation for UK travellers. There is no reason to delay.”
Allison Ausband, E.V.P. & Chief Customer Experience Officer, Delta said:
“Customers need a help navigating the complex requirements of post-COVID transatlantic travel. We’ve been working with our partners at Virgin Atlantic to develop this solution as an easy-to-use, reliable and effective way to remove guesswork for customers and our employees – all with no third-party app download needed.”
Customers travelling to the United States can also now digitally complete the mandatory US Passenger Attestation Form via virginatlantic.com, ensuring this legal requirement is already linked to their booking when they arrive at Check In at London Heathrow or Manchester airports.
Virgin Atlantic FlyReady will initially be available for customers travelling in either direction between the USA and the UK. Customer on these routes will be contacted with pre-departure communications over the coming fortnight, offering clear instructions on how to use FlyReady. The TrustAssure A.I.-powered test verification has already proven extremely effective in UK-US trials, with FlyReady now further integrating the tool into the digital pre-flight journey by linking the ‘fit to fly’ status directly to a customer’s booking reference and itinerary. When checking in or boarding a customer, airline agents at airports will swiftly see from a digital indicator in the system that their tests are pre-verified and valid, alongside the digital attestation form. This avoids additional, time-consuming in person checks, in turn, lowering the risk of denied boarding.
All customer health data associated with Virgin Atlantic FlyReady is encrypted, and none of it is stored in Virgin Atlantic’s or Delta’s systems. Virgin Atlantic only receives a digital indicator showing that the customer has met the applicable legal requirements.
Virgin Atlantic continues to lead on innovative digital health solutions to support smooth and safe travel. A successful trial of the IATA Travel Pass on London Heathrow-Barbados services has recently been extended until 1 August 2021, which provides customers with a ‘one stop shop’ to collect, store and verify documents on a secure smartphone app, which is recognised and accepted by the Barbadian border authorities.
Virgin Atlantic FlyReady is one of the many ways the airline is making it easier to return to travel as destinations reopen, including a flexible booking policy should plans change, a dedicated online help centre and a range of convenient Covid-19 testing options.
Notes to editors
- Virgin Atlantic currently serves New York-JFK, Boston, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Miami from London Heathrow and further US destinations including Las Vegas, Orlando, San Francisco, Washington and Seattle are due to restart later this summer, alongside Manchester services to New York-JFK, Atlanta and Orlando. Delta Air Lines is currently operating London Heathrow daily services to Atlanta, 5 x weekly to New York-JFK and 3 x weekly to Seattle.
- The launch version of Virgin Atlantic FlyReady will be available to customers flying on Virgin Atlantic-operated point-to-point services between the UK and US. Other itineraries will become available as the FlyReady product expands.
- Pre-departure outbound tests or bundles are currently not available for UK to USA trips via Virgin Atlantic’s preferred at-home testing provider Prenetics as the United States requires an in-person test or at-home test with video observation. Prenetics is currently developing the video tutorial option, launching soon. Prenetics ‘carry-along’ pre-departure tests and arrivals bundles are valid for USA to UK trips.
- To enter the UK from the US, customers aged five and above currently need to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken no more than three days before departure and to enter the US from the UK, all customers aged two and above need to provide proof of a negative PCR, LAMP or antigen test taken no more than three days before departure.
- A Passenger Locator Form for UK entry and Passenger Attestation Form for US entry must be completed in parallel to FlyReady, while we continue discussions with border authorities to make Covid-19 health related travel requirements even simpler to demonstrate and more integrated and convenient for customers. Customers should also continue to have an accessible copy of their test certificate in digital or paper format, as UK Border Force or US Customs and Border Protection officials will require this.