Chile is now the first country in Latin America to welcome travelers from the US under American Airlines' new digital health pass. The country opened its borders on November 23, and now the government is working alongside American Airlines to make travel a little bit easier during the pandemic.
American Airlines and the Chilean government are offering passengers the option to use a new mobile digital health app when traveling to the country. Called VeriFLY, the app can be downloaded for free on iOS and Android, and passengers can use it to securely store required travel documentation, including flight details and proof of a negative COVID-19 test. Similar to the CommonPass app that's being trailed by major airlines including United and Virgin Atlantic, the app will verify if the given information provided by the passenger matches the entry policies of the user’s destination before giving them the green light to travel.
Passengers traveling between Miami and Santiago will have the opportunity to test the new digital health pass at no cost from December 7. "Today we are promoting responsible and safe tourism through the adoption of protocols which now provide a better travel experience, helping simplify procedures while respecting health security measures," said Andrea Wolleter, director of Chile's National Tourism Service.
In addition, the airline is the first to provide customers traveling to South America with an at-home testing option through LetsGetChecked. With the service, passengers will be sent a PCR testing kit to their home address, which will be observed virtually by a medical professional. It's hoped that the combination of a health pass and pre-flight testing should make it easier and safer for US residents to travel abroad during the pandemic.
Chile reopened its borders on November 23 and is applying a measured approach to tourism with specific requirements in place for arrivals. Travelers coming into the country must have proof of a negative COVID-19 result from a test performed within 72 hours of traveling, and take out a health insurance policy that covers COVID-19 issues during their stay.
Paula Daza, undersecretary of Health in Chile said: "we are opening the borders with prudence, taking the necessary safeguards. We hope that these reunions, especially of those binational families that have been separated, can become a reality, with all the necessary self-care measures to avoid contagion. Chileans and foreigners, I ask that we take care of each other."
Chile's Santiago de Chile airport opened last month with direct flights scheduled from Amsterdam, Buenos Aires, Guayaquil, Lima, Madrid, Miami, New York, Panama and Sao Paulo. More flights are expected to be added in the coming days. Travelers are advised to keep up-to-date with local public health guidelines and be aware that local curfews may be in place. Face coverings are mandatory in public and social distancing rules apply.
This article was first published on November 16 and updated on December 7, 2020.