Qantas

Face it: Sydney Airport & Qantas testing facial recognition

 

Sydney Airport and launch partner Qantas Airways are testing a program that allows passengers to use their faces as identification.

The trial will apply to select international flights and include four steps in the passenger journey: automated check-in, bag drop, lounge access and boarding. In the future they may add facial recognition to mobile check-in and automated border processing.

Sydney Airport CEO Geoff Culbert said the trial is part of a broader focus on investing in technology to make the airport experience easier and more convenient for passengers.

“In the future, there will be no more juggling passports and bags at check-in and digging through pockets or smartphones to show your boarding pass – your face will be your passport and your boarding pass at every step of the process.”

Qantas Chief Customer Officer Vanessa Hudson said the airline was focused on increasing the use of technology to drive innovation for customers.

“One of our core commitments at Qantas is to make travel as attractive, convenient and enjoyable as possible,” Hudson said.

Facial recognition is in use – on both a trial and everyday use – for various steps of the airport journey at an increasing number of airports around the world, including Singapore’s Changi Airport, which uses facial recognition for bag check-in, boarding and (for some passengers) immigration in Terminal 4 and Orlando International Airport, which recently announced its commitment to processing all arriving and departing international travelers with facial recognition technology.

Qantas surveying passengers about sleeping bunks and exercise zones

You may remember the recent buzz about the design Airbus floated for putting sleeping berths in the cargo hold of an airplane as a way for economy class passengers to get some real rest during a long haul flight.

Qantas, which has challenged both Airbus and Boeing to build a plane it can use for ultra-long haul  flights from the east coast of Australia to London and New York, likes that idea and has it on a list of ‘blue sky’ features included in a survey the airline is sending out to about 12,000 of its frequent flyers.

The survey is part of the airline’s “Project Sunrise” research into ultra-long haul flying and on the Qantas list are such “Would you like?” features as:

  • A stretch/exercise zone on board
  • A communal bar, dining or self-service café zone
  • A work & study section including work stations
  • “Change and refresh” stations
  • A creche

A creche? To me that describes Christmas nativity scenes, which seemed like an odd item to include on a long-haul flight. But when I looked up that word I discovered creche is also a British word for a nursery, or day care center.

And on a long-haul flight – and even many short ones – I think most any traveler would vote for that!

 

 

Sydney, Australia is full of clowns

Business class seat or not (and thank-you again, Qantas for the business class seat), if your journey from home to your destination take 20 hours or more you want some ‘wow’ on the ground.

And Sydney, Australia is delivering.

A hike along the sandstone cliffes from Bondi Beach to Bronte Beach, in the suburbs of the city, was “surftastic.”

And Luna Park – a 1930s-era amusement park on the northern shore of Sydney Harbor – was filled with classic rides, great arcade attractions and plenty of clowns.

 

More soon.

Fun new flights!

Three new flights kicked off over the weekend that I wish I’d been on!

 

Air France began nonstop service to Paris from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Sunday, March 25.

The service adds to Delta’s flights between SEA and CDG and kicks off with three times a week service (Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays) on a Boeing 777-200 and increases to five times a week (adding Mondays and Tuesdays) during the summer season.

Air France first served Sea-Tac between 2007-2012, when that route was given taken over by Delta.

On Saturday, March 24, United Airlines kicked off seasonal nonstop daily service on a 787-8 Dreamliner between Denver and London Heathrow (LHR).

And over the weekend Qantas completed the inaugural – historic – flight for direct service between Perth, Australia and London. The 787-9 Dreamliner made the journey in ‘just’ 17 hours and 14 minutes.