The Future of Flying: Zero Touch Entertainment Systems and E Covid Passport

Air New Zealand and Qatar launch their new systems. These developments highlight changes that will be common place and compulsory. If you don’t want to touch a screen system you will need a smartphone. We already required Aps from certain airlines to even access their entertainment systems – Virgin and Jetstar come to mind. At least the Qatar type system means we can enjoy their larger screen and we are not confined to watching a movie on a smartphone! That would be lowering standards too much for this editor!

Samantha Smith from Karryon gives more detail.

Qatar Airways To Offer Passengers ‘Zero-Touch’ In-Flight Entertainment

Passengers travelling onboard the airline’s Airbus A350 fleet will soon be able to access its Oryx One in-flight entertainment system through their own personal electronic devices, minimising the risk of virus transmission.

Qatar Airways is pleased to soon become the first global airline to offer passengers 100 percent Zero-Touch technology for its award-winning Oryx One in-flight entertainment system across the A350 fleet as part of the airline’s latest COVID-19 safety measures. The Zero-Touch technology, introduced in partnership with the Thales AVANT IFE system, will enable A350 passengers to pair their personal electronic devices (PEDs) with their seat-back IFE screen by connecting to ‘Oryxcomms’ Wi-Fi and simply scanning a QR code displayed on the screen.

Passengers can then use their PEDs to navigate and enjoy more than 4,000 options on offer through the airline’s award-winning Oryx One in-flight entertainment system, limiting the frequency of onboard surface contact and providing greater peace of mind throughout the duration of their journey. Oryx One entertainment options range from the latest blockbuster movies, TV box sets, music, games and much more. Passengers can also stay in touch with their friends and family around the world by using the award-winning airline’s on-board Wi-Fi and GSM service. Qatar Airways is also set to become the first airline in Europe and the Middle East and North Africa region to offer passengers in Business and Economy the option to pair their personal Bluetooth headphones with the on-board seatback IFE system in all cabins on the Boeing 787-9 fleet.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: “As an industry leader in the fight against COVID-19 and the first global airline to recently achieve a 5-Star rating in the coveted Skytrax Airline Safety Rating, Qatar Airways is committed to ensuring the highest standards of safety and hygiene on board its aircraft at all times.

“The introduction of the state-of-the-art Zero-Touch technology, and enabling passengers to use their personal Bluetooth headset on board is an important step in taking our already rigorous and stringent COVID-19 precautions to another level, limiting passenger surface contact and preventing any possible spread of infection on board.”
His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive.

“We hope it provides yet further assurance of the safety of air travel, as well as offering passengers on board increased confidence that they are enjoying the most consistently advanced customer experience available in the sky.”

vaccinated person using digital health passport app in mobile phone for travel during covid-19 pandemic

Air New Zealand Trials Global Digital Travel Pass

Air New Zealand customers and employees will be among the first to trial a digital initiative to get people moving safely across the globe again. Air New Zealand is trialling a new digital initiative, to help kickstart the global travel industry. With constantly changing entry and departure testing and paperwork requirements, the airline wants to streamline the health verification process to help customers know what they need to take their next international trip safely.

Customers will be able to create a digital health wallet linked to their e-passport. Once travellers have been tested and/or vaccinated, labs will securely send data to the individual’s app. It then checks requirements for travel against the data and customers who meet those travel requirements will be given the green tick to travel.

The airline will trial the digital Travel Pass app developed by International Air Transport Association (IATA) on its Auckland-Sydney route in April. Etihad Airways has also launched a digital health passport for its passengers. Air New Zealand Chief Digital Officer Jennifer Sepull says the goal is to enable customers to seamlessly manage their digital travel documentation throughout their travel experience. “Once borders reopen, travel is going to look very different, with customers’ health data needing to be verified at check-in. It’s essentially like having a digital health certificate that can be easily and securely shared with airlines.

“This will give customers peace of mind that they meet all travel requirements for the different countries around the world before they even get to the airport.”
Jennifer Sepull, Air New Zealand Chief Digital Officer

“Reassuring customers that travel is in fact safe is one of our priorities. By using the app, customers can have confidence that everyone onboard meets the same government health requirements they do. “By having a place to store all your health credentials digitally in one place, it will not only speed up the check-in process but unlock the potential for contactless travel.”

Air New Zealand says that customer privacy is at the heart of the design. The airline states there is no central database storing personal information – rather it is shared at the travellers’ discretion, in a safe and secure way. IATA’s Senior Vice President Airport, Passenger, Cargo and Security, Nick Careen says Air New Zealand’s trial of IATA Travel Pass is an important milestone towards restarting international travel. “Air New Zealand is demonstrating its industry leadership being among the first airlines in the world to offer its passengers a digital travel pass.

“Air New Zealand’s trial of IATA Travel Pass will help give governments the confidence to re-open borders and passengers the confidence to travel. The app has been developed with the highest levels of data privacy and security, so passengers always remain in control of their COVID-19 health information. And governments can be confident that passengers who are “Ok to Travel” are in full compliance of COVID-19 travel requirements.”

Nick Careen, IATA’s Senior Vice President Airport, Passenger, Cargo and Security.

The trial will run for three weeks once the app hits app/android store shelves in April and both aircrew and customers will be invited to join the trial. The airline is in conversation with government agencies about options for validation of testing and vaccination.

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