With the Omicron COVID variant bringing further uncertainty to the travel industry, operators are stepping up their fight against the impending crisis with new technology to deliver faster, safer experiences for passengers.
Seychelles International Airport has become the first to introduce a biometric health corridor for health travel screening. It will use facial recognition technology and check temperatures, while also validating if passengers have the correct health documentation – with the ability to process an average of 30 travellers per minute.
Meanwhile, Eurostar has announced the launch of a new contactless travel trial. The SmartCheck scheme will allow Business Premier and Carte Blanche ticket holders to complete ticket and passport checks at home, and then verify their identity using biometric face scanners at St Pancras International station.
From the airline world, Thai Airways is launching roundtrip flights between Phuket and Sydney to meet growing passenger demand as borders reopen. Flights from Phuket to Sydney will depart every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, with Sydney to Phuket flights operating every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday from now until 25th March 2022.
In less cheerful news, more than half of UK parents (53%) say the cost of COVID tests for their children is putting them off booking last-minute getaways. That’s according to a new study commissioned by travel insurance provider battleface. A further 47% of parents with teenagers said they were unaware of the specific requirements for their children, if they are travelling with fully vaccinated parents or guardians.
And finally, an Australian couple are set to fork out A$45,000 on a private jet to bring their COVID-stranded dog home for Christmas. Tash Corbin has faced a five-month separation from her pet, Munchkin, and fiancée David Daynes, who have been stuck in New Zealand due to border restrictions and flight disruptions. The couple have agreed to charter the jet for David and Munchkin to increase their chances of being together for the holidays.