You could wait 8 hours at the airport on your next trip; here’s why
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is pushing for countries to adopt standardized digital COVID-19 screening processes at their airports. If they don’t, the organization says travelers could face waits up to eight hours as vaccination records and test results are verified.
“Without an automated solution for COVID-19 checks, we can see the potential for significant airport disruptions on the horizon,” IATA Director General Willie Walsh said in a statement.
Walsh — former CEO of the International Airlines Group, which includes British Airways, Aer Lingus and Iberia — added that IATA, the trade association for 290 of the world’s airlines, puts pre-pandemic wait times around 1.5 hours, on average. Now, even with most airports almost fully staffed and passenger numbers at only about 30% of what they were at their pre-pandemic peak, those wait times have doubled “reaching an unacceptable three hours.” The greatest increases have been reported at check-in and border control, where health credentials (mainly paper documents) are being checked.
“Nobody will tolerate waiting hours at check-in or for border formalities,” Walsh said. “We must automate the checking of vaccine and test certificates before traffic ramps up.”
The technology already exists, as seen with IATA’s own Travel Pass app and the automated check-in processes airlines currently use to verify passenger identities. Adding a COVID-19 verification component would eliminate the need for manual checks, cut down on queues and help to eliminate fraudulent documentation, IATA said.
The organization is pushing for countries attending the G7 summit on June 11 to adopt a standardized set of internationally recognizable digital protocols that will speed things up as travel resumes.
Some countries — including the U.K., where the G7 summit is set to be held — have taken measures to thin crowds as they anticipate an influx of travelers. Specifically, the U.K. has warned that wait times at London’s Heathrow could stretch up to six hours.
“This cannot wait,” Walsh said. “More and more people are being vaccinated. More borders are opening. Booking patterns tell us that pent-up demand is at extremely high levels. But governments and the competent authorities are acting in isolation and moving far too slowly. A smooth restart is still possible. But governments need to understand the urgency and act fast.”
Featured photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
- Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at US restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
- Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees