As pandemic restrictions ease, the world’s most widely adopted COVID travel wallet is just getting started, says Tom Grissen, CEO at Daon.
Why is VeriFLY important in a post-pandemic world?
VeriFLY wasn’t actually built for COVID. It feels funny to say this when we’re the world’s most popular app for managing COVID credentials, but the truth is we created VeriFLY to solve a much broader problem for airline passengers and other travelers—how to remove the total burden of physical travel documents.
For decades, passengers have been suffering from the slow pace and inconvenience of physical document checks. For airlines, it’s been even worse, causing longer counter transaction times, higher ground handling costs, and slower boarding processes that require more staff and often lead to flight delays. We built VeriFLY to remove all those negative effects, which will persist long after the pandemic subsides.
Can you expand on the non-COVID applications of VeriFLY?
Think of all the physical travel documents that airlines need to verify and process—ESTAs, visas, and passports to name a few. VeriFLY can validate all these travel documents digitally, in advance of travel, creating a better experience for passengers and greater efficiencies for airlines.
Any time we can reduce the need for passengers to visit a check-in desk or interact with an agent, we’re helping our airline partners boost online check-in rates, increase on-time departures, and improve the airline experience for passengers—many of whom are keenly interested in moving to entirely digital and self-service travel processes.
Remember, the desire for seamless, contactless travel didn’t start with COVID. Nearly all the behavioral shifts we’re seeing from airline passengers today were merely accentuated and accelerated by the pandemic.
What are the biggest benefits of VeriFLY for airlines?
If you ask our airline partners like American Airlines and British Airways, they’ll tell you our single biggest benefit is to operations planning—by insulating these companies from having to “surge hire” additional staff for physical document checking, whether those documents are COVID certificates, visas, or passports.
After that, they’ll probably mention the carry-through benefits of a faster, smoother process: more on-time flights, more boardings per minute, less counter transaction time, fewer ground handling costs, fewer inadmissible passengers and related fines, better audit trails, and more passengers using online check-in and self-service. One of our airline partners reported 70% online check-ins and over 35,000 person-hours saved per year.
Some airline partners have already seen up to a 30% reduction in costs and 45% faster processing times
Last but not least, they’ll tell you their passengers really love the VeriFLY experience. Last I checked, we had a 4.6 star rating in the App Store with over 200,000 positive reviews, and we’re routinely seeing 75-80% airline user satisfaction scores.
Have we seen the beginning of the end of Digital Health Credentials?
Many of our airlines, cruise lines, and hotel partners still have a requirement to check health credentials. Not all countries in the world apply the same COVID rules, and many apply one set of rules for returning nationals and another for visitors. In all likelihood, checking for vaccinations, up-to-date boosters, and other health credentials will remain an on-again-off-again obligation for airlines for the foreseeable future.
As a result, some of our airline partners have used VeriFLY to make digital credentialing a standard part of their passenger processing, with the ability to dial up or down the use of those credentials, depending on a destination’s specific requirements. Thanks to that flexibility, those partners were able to respond in real time to unexpected outbreaks like the Omicron surge. By keeping their infrastructure active, they can protect themselves from painful operational disruptions in the near or distant future.
What’s next for VeriFLY?
Right now, we’re investing even more in our artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) capabilities, which have proven to significantly drive down costs and spur operational efficiencies. Already, some of our airline partners have seen up to a 30% reduction in costs and 45% faster processing times. These are outcomes that really drive margins and tangible value for our partners, so we’re keenly focused on AI/ML innovation.
We created VeriFLY to solve a much broader problem than COVID—how to remove the total burden of physical travel documents.
We’re also planning to roll-out a new set of features later this year, many of them in line with the aspirations of IATA’s Digital ID initiatives. Our aim is to continue breaking down silos so that passengers can share data across their entire travel journey, and not just at one or two stops along the way.
As an industry, travel is still only scratching the surface of what’s possible through digital transformation, and we’re proud to continue working alongside our innovative, passionate airline partners to imagine, design, and deliver the faster, smarter, more seamless travel experiences of tomorrow.
VeriFLY by Daon is used by major airlines, cruise lines, hotels, and other businesses, including American Airlines, British Airways, Aer Lingus, Japan Airlines, Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Viking Cruises, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, and many others. For more information, visit www.daon.com/verifly
Tom Grissen, CEO, Daon