Virgin Atlantic Extends Their Flexible Booking Policy
This means that if you make a new booking for travel up to 30 April 2022, or your flight is cancelled up to 31 August 2021, you can make as many changes as necessary free of charge.
When they say “changes” this includes travel dates, departure airport and destination; and you will also get one free name change. I think in these respects they are ahead of BA given their recent lack of flexibility although they too are charging for difference in fares. The drawback is that you have to pay for any change in fares except if you rebook for travel before 31 May 2020. This is where I think airlines are going wrong, it is unlikely that people will be travelling much before the end of May. If you try to give big fare changes for rebooking a ticket, people will simply take a refund whenever they can rather than rebooking with the company.
BA extends the use of Verifly app, their digital health passport app
I previously wrote about BA’s version of the IATA travel app which is what you may call a vaccine passport in that it stores verified information about vaccines and covid test results. I think these apps are a great idea and have no idea why the UK government has been so slow to get on board. Anything that makes people safer by making sure that they haven’t forged essential information is a good thing and knowing everything is in order on the app would certainly give me more peace of mind!
In response to tightening border controls by the UK government, British Airways has today announced it intends to increase its trial of the VeriFLY digital health app across all International flights operating into the UK. The expansion, which will come in to effect from February 15, is designed to help those eligible to travel to navigate the changing entry requirements and facilitate a seamless journey by ensuring customers are ready to fly and have the appropriate documentation in place, before departing for the airport.
The trial is part of the airline’s ongoing work to explore digital health travel wallet and document verification solutions which help customers and support the government in ensuring conformance with the UK’s entry requirements.
The news also comes as IATA’s Director General and CEO, Alexandre de Juniac this week reaffirmed that it was working closely with IAG, British Airways’ parent company, on its IATA Travel Pass app which is being developed to launch in the coming weeks.
Sean Doyle, British Airways’ CEO said: “We know that digital health apps and wallets will likely become commonplace when travel opens up again. We are exploring every available solution to support eligible customers and the UK government both during this period of limited travel and in preparation for a time when restrictions are eased, when we hope many more people will be able to resume flying again.”
VeriFLY can be downloaded to your mobile and is designed to offer peace of mind before travel by checking that you meet the entry requirements of the destination by providing digital health document verification and confirming eligibility. Use of the VeriFLY app will be optional and customers will also continue to be able to evidence they meet a country’s entry requirements at check-in.
The app has been pioneered by private software company, Daon, which also works with some of the world’s leading banking and credit card companies. The software will allow people to combine travel verification documents and Covid-19 test results in one place, ensuring travellers are fully compliant with the entry requirements for their destination before leaving home. Certified customers will be fast-tracked through the airport where specially designated desks will be available for check in.
British Airways had previously announced it would be the first UK airline to start trialling VeriFLY and customers have been invited to have the option of using it since February 4 on all flights from London to the US. Since then, the trial has been extended to offer customers on inbound flights to the UK from the US the option to use it.
American Airlines, British Airways’ joint business and oneworld partner, offers customers the opportunity to use VeriFLY when they are travelling to the US from all international destinations.
British Airways is simultaneously conducting a testing trial with American Airlines and oneworld on some routes from the US to the UK. The results of the trial will be shared with Oxford University, the trial’s academic partner, and with governments on both sides of the Atlantic.