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May 16, 2017

Air Travel: Delta’s Facial Recognition Test, New Flights to Rio


A number of updates from Delta and United Airlines lead this week’s roundup of air travel news affecting the meetings and events industry. 

Delta Tests Facial Recognition, First Self-Service Bag Drop in U.S.

Following a recent announcement by Finnair in regards to testing facial recognition technology, Delta is introducing four self-service bag drop machines at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport this summer along with testing facial recognition technology. One of the self-service bag drop machines will be equipped to test facial recognition technology to match customers with their passport photos through identification verification. The $600,000 investment will allow customers to quickly and securely check their own bags, the airline said. 

The airline's introduction of self-service bag drops and facial recognition technology is a next step in its work to streamline airport processes and is complimented by Delta's industry-leading radio frequency identification technology. Previous self-service innovations like ticketing kiosks and check-in via the FlyDelta mobile app have transformed congested lobby areas and improved customer satisfaction scores. 

Delta also worked with the Transportation Security Administration to implement the first automated screening lanes in the U.S. at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Other innovations include an app that helps pilots avoid turbulence, launching the industry's most interactive airport wayfinding maps on the FlyDelta mobile app and strategically enhancing its boarding process. 

The airline will collect customer feedback during the trial process to ensure that the lobby enhancement improves the overall customer experience. 

Delta Adds New Nonstop Service Between Rio and New York

In flight news, Delta is continuing to expand its connections between Brazil and the United States with a new nonstop flight between Rio de Janeiro and New York-JFK, now available for booking through www.delta.com. Delta will connect the two cities with a daily service, starting southbound December 21, 2017, and northbound the next day.

The airline's alliance with GOL Linhas Aereas Inteligentes will extend the reach of this service to 23 destinations within Brazil and provides connections to Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport (GIG) in Rio de Janeiro. On the other end, Delta will offer 49 U.S. destinations beyond its hub at New York-JFK. 

Delta's proposed schedule between Rio de Janeiro (GIG) and New York (JFK) is as follows:

  • Departs New York-JFK at 9:24 P.M. --- Arrives Rio de Janeiro (GIG) at 10:30 A.M -- Daily 
  • Departs Rio de Janeiro (GIG) at 10:15 P.M. --- Arrives New York-JFK at 5:36 A.M -- Daily 

The GIG-JFK route will be operated using a Boeing 767-400 aircraft, equipped with 40 Delta One full flat-bed seats with direct aisle access for every passenger. The aircraft also has over-sized personal entertainment screens and Latin-inspired meal selections by chef Michelle Bernstein

The 246-passenger aircraft also includes 28 Delta Comfort+ Seats and 178 seats in the Main Cabin

United Adds New Service Between San Francisco and Eight Destinations

United Airlines has announced it is increasing the number of flights between San Francisco and eight destinations. Additionally, the airline announced it will convert select regional jet flights to larger mainline aircraft in ten markets. These enhancements build on previously announced new service from SFO to seven U.S. cities beginning June 8. 

Additional flights between SFO and eight destinations: 

  • SFO - Seattle 
    • 10 flights daily beginning August 1
  • SFO - Albuquerque (ABQ)
    • Two flights daily beginning August 15
  • SFO - Baltimore (BWI) 
    • Two flights daily beginning August 15
  • SFO - Indianapolis (IND)
    • Two flights daily beginning August 15
  • SFO - Kansas City (MCI)
    • Two flights daily beginning August 15
  • SFO - Nashville (BNA)
    • Two flights daily beginning August 15
  • SFO - Philadelphia (PHL) 
    • Three flights daily beginning August 15
  • SFO - Portland (PDX)
    • Nine flights daily beginning August 15

Larger aircraft on daily service between SFO and ten cities: 

  • Burbank (BUR) 
    • Starts June 8
  • Calgary, AB (YYC)
    • Starts June 8
  • Dallas (DFW)
    • Starts June 8
  • Kansas City (MCI)
    • Starts June 8
  • Minneapolis (MSP)
    • Starts June 8
  • Palm Springs (PSP)
    • Starts June 8
  • Santa Barbara (SBA)
    • Starts June 8
  • Bozeman (BZN)
    • Starts July 1
  • Sacramento (SMF)
    • Starts July 1
  • Fresno (FAT)
    • Starts August 15

New and expedited service between SFO and seven cities:

  • Cincinnati (CVG) 
    • June 8; year-round, daily
  • Detroit (DTW) 
    • June 8; year-round, daily
  • Hartford (BDL)
    • June 8; seasonal, daily through September 5
  • New Orleans (MSY)
    • June 8; adding summer service and expanding to year-round, daily
  • Santa Rosa (STS)
    • June 8; year-round, daily
  • Spokane (GEG)
    • June 8; year-round, daily
  • Kalispell (FCA) 
    • July 1; seasonal, daily through September 5

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