The Future of Seamless Travel
The Critical Need to Digitize Travel Document Verification
For decades, passengers and airlines alike have been suffering from the inconvenience of the manual processes surrounding physical travel document verification.
by Tom Grissen, CEO
Slow boarding processes, longer lines, tedious counter transactions, and higher ground handling costs have all negatively impacted the travel industry and the overall experience of an airline traveler. Whether it’s surge hiring due to sky-high talent shortages or widespread flight delays, it has become clear that the effects of these manual processes are unnecessary, outdated, and costly for airlines.
Why Go Digital?
When you think of all the physical travel documents that airlines need to verify and process—ESTAs, visas, and passports, just to name a few—it’s quite a long list. Digital verification, done in advance of travel, is the way to go: a simplified checklist enables a more user-friendly experience for passengers, giving them sufficient time to obtain any missing visa or health pass and to renew expired documents.
The time it requires for passengers to visit a check-in desk or interact with an agent can be reduced, if not eliminated, eventually, with the digitization of document verification. Airlines who have already implemented these measures are boosting online check-in rates, increasing on-time departures, and improving their customer experience for passengers—many of whom are keenly interested in moving to an entirely digital, self-service travel process as soon as possible.
The desire for seamless, contactless travel didn’t just start with the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly all the behavioral shifts in airline passengers today have merely been accentuated and accelerated by the pandemic.
In fact, we knew that these trends would soon demand the biggest innovations in travel. In a recent travel magazine interview, I stated that we created VeriFLY, the world’s most popular travel app for health credentials and travel documents, to solve a much broader problem than COVID—we made it possible to remove the total burden of physical travel documents.
For the foreseeable future, checking for vaccinations, up-to-date boosters, and other health credentials will most likely remain an intermittent obligation for airlines.
As an industry, travel is still only scratching the surface of what’s possible through digital transformation. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) capabilities, which have already proven to significantly drive down costs and spur operational efficiencies, will be of great benefit in removing the burden of errors and misinterpretation that takes place during the manual handling and verification of physical travel documents.
There is a critical need to continue to move away from siloed document verification systems so that passengers can share and receive data across their entire journey—and not just at one or two stops along the way.
Airline and travel industry leaders are now tasked with imagining, designing, and delivering innovations for the faster, smarter, and more seamless travel experiences of tomorrow.