BUDGET carrier Cebu Pacific (CEB) is eyeing to implement the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) Travel Pass sometime in the fourth quarter of this year.
“We’ve said we are supportive of a Covid vaccination passport. Again, this becomes more relevant for international (travel) but we are not sure how this (passport) will roll out for domestic (travel) just yet... It’s very early,” Candice Iyog, Cebu Pacific vice president for marketing and customer experience, said during the airline’s mid-year update on Thursday, June 17, 2021. “But it’s something we are looking at or reviewing.”
The IATA Travel Pass is a mobile application allowing travelers to simply and securely store and manage certifications for Covid-19 tests or vaccines. The information through the IATA Travel Pass can be shared with border authorities requiring testing or proof of vaccination as a condition for international travel during and after the Covid-19 pandemic.
While many countries and airlines are already participating in the IATA Travel Pass initiative, the Department of Tourism has not provided any timeline when the IATA initiative will be adopted in the Philippines, although the Philippine government is considering the use of the travel pass.
“This move is parallel with the steps undertaken by other countries that have successfully relaxed borders to visitors amid the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat in a report.
“Albeit on its testing stage, the IATA Travel Pass, which offers safe and convenient travel, has so far been helpful to airlines that have adopted it for trial,” she added.
CEB and Philippine Airlines are both members of the IATA.
Voluntary flight changes
Meanwhile, CEB announced it is implementing a new policy for passengers who want to make voluntary changes to their flights.
Starting July 1, the travel fund option for voluntary flight changes will only be available for passengers who pre-purchased the CEB Flexi add-on during initial booking as this new and improved product allows passengers to cancel their flights for free, up to two hours before departure, and store the value of the booking in a Travel Fund for as low as P499.
The amount in this virtual wallet is valid for two years and may be used to book new flights or purchase other add-ons such as seat selection, additional baggage allowance, or travel insurance.
Passengers who wish to change their bookings voluntarily without purchasing CEB Flexi can make use of the unlimited rebooking option of CEB and rebook as many times as they want up to two hours before their scheduled time of departure. CEB has permanently removed change fees since March to provide guests with the much-needed flexibility during this time.
“We have made it a point that we are agile in responding to our customers’ needs amid the fluid situation. It is our commitment to provide safe, affordable and convenient air travel for everyJuan in the years to come, and we need to make sure that we operate sustainably. This is why we are announcing this new and permanent policy after over a year of careful assessment,” said Iyog.
Passengers affected by flight cancellations will continue to have the standard options offered by CEB, namely unlimited rebooking, refund and travel fund. (JOB)