American Airlines streamlines new international testing requirement

Jan 14, 2021

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If you’re planning to travel internationally, you’re going to need to pack a negative COVID test when returning to the U.S.

On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control announced the new testing requirement that takes effect on Tuesday, Jan. 26. While this is certainly an added inconvenience, especially for those considering international weekend trips, American Airlines is working to ease the burden.

Starting on Jan. 23, the Fort Worth-based carrier will offer its flyers access to the VeriFLY mobile app for all international travel returning to the U.S.

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Flyers can download the VeriFLY app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store, select a destination, upload negative test results and then receive a QR code to show at the airport check-in counter.

This QR code-based verification process is a win-win for customers and airlines.

For flyers, check-in lines should move faster since agents won’t need to look at physical paperwork. Plus, there’s added peace-of-mind that your pre-travel test was verified before arriving at the airport.

In addition to the streamlined airport experience, airlines won’t need to worry about fraudulent COVID test certificates.

When announcing the expansion of the VeriFLY app, Julie Rath, vice president of customer experience at American said that “we support the implementation of a global program to require COVID-19 testing for travelers to the United States, and we want to do everything we can to make travel a seamless experience for customers.”

While this is certainly a step in the right direction, flyers should note that the CDC requirement also includes a passenger attestation form that must be collected before departure. It remains to be seen if American (and other carriers) will add this form to the online check-in process.

More: Is this the end of the international weekend trip?

This isn’t the first time American is partnering with VeriFLY. Flyers headed to select destinations in the Caribbean, Central and South America have had access to the app since late 2020.

To date, American says that thousands of customers have traveled using the app. And with the latest expansion, that number is sure to skyrocket.

One day, hopefully, the app will expand to include a COVID vaccine passport, which will likely be a major step in travel resuming to pre-pandemic levels.

Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy

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