IATA, Partners Demonstrate First Integrated Shopping to Travel Journey

IATA and industry partners have successfully tested the first fully integrated digital identity travel experience, from shopping for flights to arrival, on a journey from London Heathrow (LHR) to Rome Fiumicino (FCO) with British Airways.

Nick Careen, IATA’s Senior Vice President for Operations, Safety and Security, said that: “Our vision for future travel is fully digital and secured with biometric identification. While the technology exists to do this at each stage of a journey, linking these steps together has proven challenging. Today with our partners we showed that it is possible. This will open up a world of possibilities for simpler journeys in the future.”

The demonstration illustrated the potential of a future fully integrated digital travel experience leveraging biometrics with:

• Personalized Offers: This will be seen from the shopping experience where travellers will be able to receive personalized offers through all shopping channels. The LHR-FCO passenger shared their loyalty card data (stored as a verifiable credential in their smart phone’s digital wallet) with a travel agent. This enabled airlines using the New Distribution Capability (NDC) to make personalized offers through the travel agent channel.

• Simplified Orders: Once the traveller has chosen among the offers, an order is generated as a verifiable credential that can be stored in a digital wallet. No more Passenger Name Records (PNR), e-tickets or electronic miscellaneous documents are needed. All the information about the journey is stored in the verifiable credential, which can also be read as a QR code.

•  Effortless Travel Requirements Check: Many processes can be done long before the traveler gets to the airport. Along with the digital wallet, a digital passport (stored in the traveller’s digital wallet) will be a key enabler. By sharing the nationality data of the digital passport, passengers can confirm their travel document requirements. IATA’s Timatic solution supports this.

• “Ready to Fly” – Simplifying and Securing Check-ins: The LHR-FCO traveler also chose to share their digital passport and order data with their airline, British Airways, to receive a confirmation that they are Ready-to-Fly and seat assignment via text message, being spared from manual data input. Traditional boarding passes may become optional if travellers are offered and accept a contactless experience at the airport. 

• Contactless Airport Experiences: For travellers who choose to share their biometric data, storing your phone and proceeding hands-free (with your phone and your passport in your pocket or purse) through the airport will be possible. Biometric gates cleared the way for the LHR-FCO traveller through security, into lounges and onto the aircraft. 

Dirk John, British Airways Chief Information and Digital Officer, said that: “As an airline, we are always innovating and looking at ways to make the customer journey as seamless as possible. We introduced biometric boarding on selected flights earlier this year and it has been a huge success with positive customer feedback. Working with IATA on enabling a fully integrated travel journey helps us build on that and shows us what could be possible in the future.”

The companies involved in the project include Accenture, Amadeus, Australian Border Force, AWS, Branchspace, British Airways, IDnow, Aeroporti di Roma, SICPA,, and Verchaska.

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