JFK Installs Facial Recognition for Boarding

In true sci-fi style, you’ll be able to use your face to board a plane. In other words, passengers will have access to ticketless boarding by using facial scanning.

In early October, a biometric self-boarding gate was installed at Lufthansa’s Terminal 1 gate at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport’s (JFK). Here are the details, courtesy of the New York Post.

Lufthansa has deployed the paperless, high-tech boarding process, which uses facial recognition technology to verify travelers with a photo capture, at its largest U.S. gateway at the Queens airport. Air France, Japan Airlines and Norwegian Airlines are expected to follow suit at the terminal, officials said.

The technology firm Vision Box has partnered with Customs and Border Protection on facial screening or “biometric boarding” technology, which officials say is faster and more secure, but has privacy advocates expressing concerns.

How it works

The digital boarding process validates the eligibility of a traveler without having to present a passport or boarding pass. When a passenger approaches a self-boarding gate, a biometric-enabled camera integrated in the gate captures the passenger’s facial image. That image is then securely sent to US Customs’ Traveler Verification Service, which “conducts a matching process with the stored digital facial token captured at the initial immigration process or from the US passport,” according to Vision-Box.

Within seconds, the system reconciles the passenger identity and his or her eligibility to enter the flight. The positive match of both verifications triggers the eGate doors to open and the passenger can board the airplane.

It’s not the first time biometric boarding has been used at JFK Airport. Last year, JetBlue rolled out its first biometric self-boarding gate for customers flying to select international destinations at JFK Airport’s Terminal 5. A slew of US airports already offers biometric boarding.

“It’s become crucial for airports and airlines to adopt biometric capabilities along the processes which require interaction with the traveler, therefore enhancing and scaling operational capacity for growing quicker within their existing footprint,” said Miguel Leitmann, the CEO and founder of Vision-Box, which brought the new boarding method to Terminal 1 through a partnership with US Customs and Border Protection and Terminal One Group Association.

New technology raises questions

Experts from the American Civil Liberties Union say that despite the technology starting to roll out at more airports nationwide, many questions remain unanswered.

“How is this information going to be collected? How long will it be retained? Will it be used in other ways and shared with federal agencies like the FBI?” said Neema Singh Guliani, Senior Legislative Counsel for the ACLU.

Customs and Border Protection officials say that the biometric data of U.S. travelers is not stored for long periods of time.

Connected aircraft coming soon

The new technology comes amidst the news that Airbus is experimenting with a new “connected” airplane that would track everything people do on a plane, including how often passengers use the bathroom. Executives think this is the cabin of the future, full of sensors that collect data on the on-board habits of its passengers.

In early September, Airbus commenced in-flight trials of IoT (Internet of Things) connected cabin technologies on board an A350-900 Flight Lab aircraft. In doing so, Airbus becomes the first aircraft manufacturer to undertake such flight-testing of actual connected cabin innovations. The platform, known as the Airspace Connected Experience, was unveiled at APEX Expo last year. While it has yet to be introduced to real passengers, the technology will usher in a new personalized experience for passengers, in particular this covers pre- and remote ordering of preferred meals, booking of private bin space, setting of individual seat positions as well as a tailor-made inflight entertainment (IFE) offer.

The goal is to gather data on passenger behavior and consumption on board, information that could save airlines money and relieve pain points on board for passengers such as the mad scramble for overhead bin space and lavatory queues.

Source: New York Post

Connecticut Halloween Events Calendar

Looking for some spooky Halloween fun this October? Check out our list of Fairfield County activities from haunted attractions and hayrides to graveyard tours and family Halloween events. Events are in chronological order, courtesy of damnedct.com.

Be sure to call ahead and check on any event you plan on attending as sometimes events will be canceled at the last minute, especially outdoor events that depend on good weather.

Legends of Fear
September 28 – November 2 (weekends); 7-10 pm
Fairview Tree Farm, 2 Saw Mill City Rd., Shelton
203.944.9090
Admission: The Hallow $25; haunted hayride $26; combo ticket $48
legendsoffear.com
More info: Try your luck at The Hallow, which includes four attractions: the Melonhead Revenge Trail (a one-mile haunted trek), Pine Hills Parish, The Dark Harvest, or the all-new Hemlock Manor Mortuary. Or visit the haunted hayride, which offers 1.5 miles in the dark with fifty creatures of the night waiting for you! Plus, a full concession with hot dogs, hot popcorn, candy, soda, hot chocolate and more.

Fright Haven
September 27 – November 3; Thursdays-Sundays (and October 31), 7-10 pm
411 Barnum Cutoff, Stratford Square, Stratford
203.799.3327
Admission: $20 in advance; VIP fast pass $39 in advance
frighthaven.com
More info: One of the state’s largest and scariest indoor haunted attractions is “back from the dead” with 20,000 square feet of scares, chills and thrills.

Virtual Reality Halloween Experiences
October 1-31; Tuesday-Sundays, times vary
Xperiment Virtual Reality, Hawley Lane Mall, Trumbull
203.502.8005
Admission: Prices start at $25 and vary by package and times
xperimentvr.com
More info: A unique haunted experience, available any evening in October. Walk through The Haunted Graveyard, Walk the plank, or enter The Manor if you dare! The Halloween themed games vary in scare level from mildly spooky to extreme scares.

Sherlock Holmes and the Haunted Cabaret
October 5 – November 3; Saturdays & Sundays, time vary by date
Downtown Cabaret Theater, 263 Golden Hill St., Bridgeport
203.576.1636
Admission: $19.75-$25
dtcab.com
More info: It’s a choose-your-own children’s mystery! Sherlock Holmes and his faithful sidekick, Watson, need your help to solve the mystery of the haunted cabaret. Put on your detective hats because this fun and innovative new whodunit asks the audience to decide what Sherlock and company need to do to crack the case.

Spooktober
October 5 – 26; events throughout the month
Westport Historical Society, 25 Avery Place, Westport
203.222.1424
Admission: Prices vary by event
westporthistory.org/spooktober
More info: Spooktober offers multiple Halloween-themed event throughout the month, including: Oct. 5—Family Creep Fest!; Oct. 9—Mr. Washington Irving’s reading of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow; Oct. 12—10th annual “Illuminating the Past” lantern tour; Oct. 20—Westport Sanitarium walking tour; and Oct. 26—Night at the Haunted Historical Society.

A Haunting at Mill Hill
October 18 & 19, 25 & 26; tours at 6, 7:30 & 9 pm
Mill Hill Historic Park, 2 East Wall St., Norwalk
203.846.0525
Admission: $15 – $20 (reservations recommended)
norwalkhistoricalsociety.org
More info: Among the crooked gravestones of Mill Hill, ghostly entities are waiting to share their true stories of death, murder, insanity and destruction.  A murderous train conductor, a heroic soldier from the Battle of Norwalk, and a young girl who perished on the trolley tracks at Mill Hill are some of the ghosts you will encounter along the way!

Haunted Victorian Ghost Stories at the Mansion
October 18-27; Friday-Sunday nights, 5:30-8 pm
Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum, 295 West Ave., Norwalk
203.838.9799
Admission: $10
lockwoodmathewsmansion.com
More info: In keeping with the Victorian fascination with unexplained phenomena, the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum’s Halloween tours will focus on ghost sightings as they relate to the house during the 19th century as well as its more recent history, and the compelling ghost stories that are part of Connecticut’s legends. Visitors may run into the Mansion’s ghosts, who are haunted by the darker memories that are part of the rarely told history of the Lockwood and Mathews families.

Great Pumpkin Festival
October 19; 1 -5 pm
Boothe Memorial Park, 5774 Main St. Putney, Stratford
203.377.2119
Admission: Free
boothememorialpark.org
More info: Events include a children’s costume parade (3:00 sharp) with prizes, DJ music, games, crafts, face painting, refreshments, pie baking contest, scarecrow judging contest, 4 Moonbounces, horse-drawn hayrides, roaming railroad, and the opening of the various historic buildings at the park, plus tours of the Model Train Museum and Observatory.

An Evening with Annabelle
October 26
Location TBA
Admission: $169
warrens.net
More info: Dig into the case files of Ed and Lorraine Warren with their son-in-law Tony Spera. The evening includes a lecture, a peek into the case files, a buffet dinner and getting to the actual Annabelle doll that inspired the movies.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show
October 25; 8 pm
Palace Theatre, 165 Main St., Danbury
203.794.9944
Admission: $15; props package $5
thepalacedanbury.com
More info: Get ready to do the Time Warp again when The Rocky Horror Picture Show returns to Danbury’s historic Palace Theatre. Audience members are encouraged to dress as their favorite character, throw props during the film, and be ready to yell back lines of dialogue as part of the audience partici-(SAY IT!)-pation. To make participation easier, prop packages which include everything you need to join in the fun can be pre-ordered when ordering tickets.

Legends and Hauntings Tour
October 25 & 26; 4 & 6 pm
Fairfield Museum and History Center, 370 Beach Rd., Fairfield
203.259.1598
Admission: $10 – $15
fairfieldhistory.org
More info: Get chilled to the bone listening to haunting legends, superstitions, and local folklore as night descends. Did body snatching happen in the cemetery? Are there ghosts in Sun Tavern? Did witches really live here? Find out tonight! Attendees are encouraged to wear Halloween costumes! Please register early, as this popular event does fill up quickly. Please bring a flashlight!

 Halloween on the Green
October 27; Noon – 4 pm
Fairfield Museum and History Center, 370 Beach Rd., Fairfield
203.259.1598
Admission: Free
fairfieldhistory.org
More info: This family event will feature trick-or-treating, giveaways, displays in the historic buildings, a Food Truck Alley, a bounce house and other kid-friendly games. A Costume Parade presented by the Fairfield Chamber of Commerce will take place at 1 pm.

Source: damnedct.com