Working to make travel rules simpler for fully vaccinated travellers

A woman showing her phone at check-in to a Virgin Atlantic cabin crew member
Virgin Atlantic
Natalie Clarkson
by Natalie Clarkson
7 July 2021

Virgin Atlantic has joined forces with British Airways and Heathrow to launch trials to simplify travel rules for fully vaccinated passengers.

The airlines are working together with Heathrow to prove it’s possible to quickly and easily verify people arriving into the UK who are fully vaccinated – an identification process that’s already in place for outbound travel to several countries. The new proving trial will support the UK government to move forward with its plans to remove quarantine for double jabbed passengers arriving in the UK from ‘amber list’ countries.

The trial, which will start in the coming days, will see fully vaccinated volunteers travelling on selected flights from Athens, Los Angeles, Montego Bay and New York to London Heathrow showing proof of their vaccine status. The trial aims to reassure Government that airlines and airports can check vaccine status upstream and away from the Border, ensuring no further pressure in UK immigration halls.

A female member of staff for Virgin Atlantic wearing a face mask speaking to a customer
Virgin Atlantic

Internationally recognised vaccination credentials will be accepted to prove a passenger’s vaccine status, including the NHS app, CDC card, US state-level digital certification and EU Digital Covid Credential. Virgin Atlantic customers will be able to verify their vaccine certificate through a new digital uploader tool, developed in partnership with Delta Air Lines and backed by TrustAssure technology. 

Shai Weiss, CEO of Virgin Atlantic said: “To reap the benefits of the UK’s world-leading vaccine rollout, the UK Government must act now to remove self-isolation for fully vaccinated passengers arriving from ‘amber’ countries, and no later than the domestic reopening on 19th July. Our proof-of-concept trial on selected US and Caribbean routes demonstrates our readiness as an industry to rapidly operationalise the new policy, and work with Government and authorities to ensure it is smoothly implemented at pace, supporting the reopening of the Transatlantic corridor, without which £23m is lost each day from the UK economy.

Image from Virgin Atlantic
Virgin Atlantic

“The UK is already falling behind US and EU and a continued overly cautious approach towards international travel will further impact economic recovery and the 500,000 UK jobs that are at stake.”

John Holland-Kaye, CEO of Heathrow, added: “This pilot will allow us to show that pre-departure and arrival checks of vaccination status can be carried out safely at check in, so that fully vaccinated passengers can avoid quarantine from the 19th July. In addition to this, the UK Government must make progress on reopening travel between the US after a designated taskforce was established to look at this back at the G7. Heathrow is the main port for trade in goods and services with the US, the only country with whom the UK has a trade surplus. New research today demonstrates just how critical it is to the UK economy to get the passenger planes that carry those exports off the ground. This is a vital step towards delivering the Government’s ambitions for Global Britain and they now need to act fast.”

Visit Virgin Atlantic to find out more.