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A roundup of some of the news I’ve noticed over the past few days which didn’t really merit a whole post of their own but that may well be of interest. Includes news that Delta is bringing facial recognition software to Atlanta, British Airways is doing the same at Los Angeles, details of A new Delta Sky CLub in New York and news that easyJet is expanding its ‘worldwide by easyJet” technology to Milan.
Delta Is Now Testing Facial Recognition Software In Atlanta
Delta started testing “next-generation” biometric gates at New York JFK and Atlanta earlier this year but, while the gates at JFK have had facial recognition capability from the start, the gates in Atlanta have not.
As of last week Gates E10 and E12 at Atlanta International Airport are now being used to test facial recognition software as customers line up to board the aircraft (customers can opt-in to participate).
Customers who have opted-in simply have to approach the biometric gate, the camera takes their picture, they receive a confirmation receipt, and the gate opens to allow them to board.
Image courtesy of Delta
Initially the gates will only be used for flight DL82 from Atlanta to Paris but Delta says it plans to roll out the facial recognition test to more flights as soon as appropriate.
EasyJet Brings “Worldwide by easyJet” to Milan
Back in September easyJet, Norwegian and WestJet announced a new booking platform which allows customers to book flights on two or more of these airlines and to connect seamlessly from one to the other just as if the passenger was connecting between two full-service airlines – it’s essentially interlining for low-cost carriers.
Up until now this service has been available exclusively at London’s Gatwick Airport (easyJet’s home hub) but the same service will now also be available at Milan’s Malpensa Airport.
Here’s what easyJet has released:
‘Worldwide by easyJet’ is the first global airline connections service by a European low fares airline. It launched in September 2017, enabling customers to connect easyJet flights through London Gatwick to long haul flights, with launch airline partners WestJet and Norwegian.
Now easyJet customers will also be able to seamlessly connect via Milan Malpensa from an easyJet flight to a flight with Norwegian, a flight with new connectivity airline partner Neos or to another easyJet flight, all using the airport’s connections service ViaMilano.
easyJet is very keen to stress that the new system will not be affecting its own performance in any way:
‘Worldwide by easyJet’ does not impact easyJet’s punctuality, its asset utilisation or operating model. The airline will not hold flights for connecting passengers. Worldwide by easyJet is subject to a 2 hour 30 minute ‘Minimum Connection Time’, which will give customers plenty of time to transfer between flights and/or terminals. Should a passenger miss a connecting flight they will be transferred to the next available flight.
Delta’s New Sky Club Is Now Open At LaGuardia
LaGuardia Airport has recently seen most of its tenants moving to new facilities with a view to, hopefully, offering a flyers a more seamless travel experience.
Delta’s part in the reshuffle was to consolidate its operations into Terminals C & D and the airline has now announced that a new Sky Club in Terminal C is now open.
According to Delta the Sky Club is located next to Gate C28 and features the following:
- THE BAR at Delta Sky Club, with complimentary beverages served and premium drinks available for purchase
- Seasonal cocktails and wine selected by Delta’s Master Sommelier Andrea Robinson
- Exceptional runway views
- Convenient location just beyond security
- Additional space and comfortable seating
- Fresh, seasonal and tailored food offerings available throughout the day
The Sky Club at Gare C28 is the second Sky Club in Terminal C (Terminal D has a Sky Club too) and the airline is promising further enhancements in the near future.
Travelers should note the new Terminal C Sky Club has more restrictive opening times than the club across from the food court. Opening hours are as follows:
- Mon: Fri 06:00 – 20:00
- Sat: Closed
- Sun 12:00 – 20:00
Rather unhelpfully Delta hasn’t yet released any images of its new Sky Club but no doubt these will appear online very soon.
British Airways Trialling Facial Recognition At LAX
British Airways has been using facial recognition at a number of its short-haul gates at Heathrow T5 for a few months but now the airline is stepping things up and moving things to LAX too.
British Airways is claiming that it “has become the first airline to trial biometric boarding technology on international flights departing the USA” but, based on Delta’s press release I’ve already discussed above, that appears not to be true – Delta beat it to the punch.
The new technology, created by Vision-Box, will create a smoother journey for customers, as they will no longer need to present their passport or boarding pass at the gate – only at check in and security. Instead travellers can simply look into a camera prior to boarding, wait for their biometric data to be verified, and then walk onto the aircraft.
Similarly to facial identification built into mobile phones, the biometric gates use high definition camera technology, and allow customers to pass through by recognising their unique facial features, and reconciling them with the digital facial scan taken as part of the immigration process.
Three stands at LA’s Tom Bradley International Terminal have been equipped with biometric gates and, according to BA, the British flag carrier is the only airline with the technology to offer “purely biometric boarding” to its customers.
As it happens I’m flying with British Airways out of LAX over the holiday period so I’m going to take the opportunity to try these new gates out – I’ll report back on the experience.