Hoyt’s Safety Measures and Coronavirus Cleaning Tips

As more cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) are reported in the U.S., Hoyt Livery is providing measures to help protect our clients and employees from the spread of this and other illnesses. Plus, coronavirus cleaning tips from the CDC.

Here’s what Hoyt is doing:

  • We thoroughly clean all interior surfaces of our vehicles with disinfectant wipes after each ride, as well as clean all employee work surfaces daily.
  • Our employees know not to report to work if they are feeling unwell and are instructed to seek medical attention.
  • We have also decided to temporarily remove all printed reading materials, beverages and snacks from our vehicles to prevent cross contact.

Thank you for understanding these precautionary measures and know that we are committed to keeping our vehicles as germ-free as possible and in pristine condition, inside and out.

Your health and safety are of utmost importance to us, and we thank you for your business!

Advice on cleaning for coronavirus

What can you do to help reduce the risk of contracting coronavirus and other illnesses? Here are general recommendations for routine cleaning and disinfection of households.

  • Practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces, for example: tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks, etc. with household cleaners and EPA-registered disinfectants that are appropriate for the surface, following label instructions.
  • Labels contain instructions for safe and effective use of the cleaning product including precautions you should take when applying the product, such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product.
  • Wash your clothes and towels more frequently using the hot water setting when possible. Use your dishwasher on the sanitize setting to wash not just your dishes, flatware and cups, but other household items like sponges and hairbrushes.

  • Household members should follow home care guidance when interacting with persons with suspected/confirmed COVID-19 and their isolation rooms/bathrooms.
  • In the bedroom/bathroom dedicated for an ill person, consider reducing cleaning frequency to as-needed (e.g., soiled items and surfaces) to avoid unnecessary contact with the ill person.
  • An ill person should stay in a specific room and away from other people in their home, as much as possible, following home care guidance. The caregiver can provide personal cleaning supplies for an ill person’s room and bathroom, unless the room is occupied by a child or another person for whom such supplies would not be appropriate.
  • These supplies include tissues, paper towels, cleaners and EPA-registered disinfectants. If a separate bathroom is not available, the bathroom should be cleaned and disinfected after each use by an ill person. If this is not possible, the caregiver should wait as long as practical after use by an ill person to clean and disinfect the high-touch surfaces.

Coronavirus Concerns: Should You Still Travel?

The COVID-19 illness caused by a new coronavirus has millions of Americans questioning whether it’s wise, or even safe, to travel, especially by air. To help you make an informed decision, an infectious disease expert has created a checklist to help you decide whether to go ahead with your trip or cancel it.

Information courtesy of Robert Preidt, HealthDay Reporter for U.S. News & World Report.

Know your risk

Regarding risk assessment, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states on their website (as of March 11) that, “For most people, the immediate risk of being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to be low. There is not widespread circulation in most communities in the United States.”

So, for most people with healthy immune systems, infection appears to result in mild symptoms—similar to a cold or flu. However, infection appears to be most severe, and occasionally fatal, for the frail elderly or those with chronic health issues or compromised immune systems.

Should you travel Q&A

Dr. Susan Wootton, an infectious disease pediatrician at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, has developed this nine-point checklist to help you decide whether your trip is a go or a no.

If your answer matches the response in parentheses to each question, move on to the next question. If not, you may need to rethink your travel plans.

  • Are the travelers healthy? (Yes.)
  • Have the travelers received flu shots? (Yes.)
  • Do any of the travelers or anyone the travelers have had contact with have any underlying high-risk conditions for the virus, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease? (No.)
  • Are any travel restrictions for your destination listed on the CDC or U.S. Department of State websites? (No.)
  • Is the trip a cruise (which Wootton advises against)? (No.)
  • Are there any major events after the trip that would cause problems if you and your fellow travelers were quarantined for a period of time? (No.)
  • Would anxiety during travel ruin the trip for you? (No.)
  • Are you reasonably able to take common preventative measures — such as washing hands and keeping hands away from the face — during travel? (Yes.)
  • Would your regret be manageable if you or a family member caught COVID-19? (Yes.)

If you’ve gone through and answered this checklist, your trip may still be a go. If this is the case, Dr. Luis Ostrosky, professor of infectious diseases at UT Health, offers these tips to help keep yourself healthy while traveling:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds—wash to the “Happy Birthday” song twice to ensure germs are washed away.
  • Carry and use a hand sanitizing gel with at least 60% alcohol as a backup when hand-washing isn’t available.
  • If you fly on a plane or take public transit, wipe down your seat, armrests, tray table, air vents, etc. with Clorox disinfecting wipes or similar.
  • Don’t touch your face. This is a tough one, because people do this without realizing it many times an hour, around 90 times a day. Try to be aware and avoid this habit.
  • If you don’t have to touch that doorknob, railing or countertop, don’t, or use your arm or other body part instead. Like the cold and flu virus, coronavirus can be coughed or sneezed onto surfaces.
  • Don’t bother wearing a face mask in public unless you have symptoms and want to help reduce spreading something yourself. According to the CDC, in everyday scenarios, face masks aren’t effective in cutting down your risk of infection, and might even raise the odds as people touch their face to readjust the mask. Also, buying up face masks reduces the supply available for medical professionals, possibly putting them at risk. So, only wear a mask if you are already sick, to prevent spread to others.
  • Keep yourself informed, preferably by reputable sources such as the CDC’s travel notices, the U.S. Department of State’s travel advisories, and the World Health Organization’s situation reports.
  • In addition to wiping down your airline or train seat, it is recommended that upon checking into your hotel room, wipe down the doorknobs, light switches, handles, coffee pot, tv remote, desk, toilet, faucet, sink, etc.  with disinfectant wipes. Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly and frequently.

For more information, see the CDC’s coronavirus website.

Source: U.S. News & World Report

A Q&A on CLEAR Identity Verification

If you fly and have been in an airport recently, you’ve probably heard about the CLEAR ID verification service.

Learn what CLEAR is and does, so you can determine if it’s right for you, courtesy of clark.com.

What exactly is CLEAR?

CLEAR, a New York-based startup, is a service to help you get through security lines at airports and stadiums faster and more efficiently by verifying your identity ahead of time and linking it to biometric data-like scans of your iris and fingertips.

CLEAR uses biometrics — namely your fingerprint and the iris in your eye — to confirm your identity, rather than old-school forms of ID like driver’s licenses and passports.

CLEAR transforms those biometrics into an encrypted code that is unique to each individual. Every time you check in at a CLEAR location, the system matches your fingerprint and iris scans to your unique code to ensure that it’s really you.

As a result, you’re able to bypass the general security lines at dozens of major airports and some other big sports and concert venues across the country, saving you valuable time in the process.

How does CLEAR work?

There are two stages to the security check at every U.S. airport: Identity verification and a security screening. When you sign up with CLEAR, you use it to bypass the wait in line to present your ID to a TSA agent. Instead, you go to a CLEAR kiosk and scan your eye or fingertip.

Once the system confirms your identity, a CLEAR employee will escort you directly to the security screening, which is usually much faster than standing in the line waiting for the TSA agent.

Although lines can and do form at CLEAR kiosks, they generally move at a much quicker pace than the other lines waiting to get through security.

How much does CLEAR cost?

A CLEAR Plus membership is $179 a year. If you join CLEAR Plus, you can add up to three adult family members to your account for $50 each per year. Children under 18 don’t need an account. They can accompany family members in the CLEAR line for free.

CLEAR has also partnered with two airlines — Delta and United — to offer their frequent flyers discounted memberships.

Delta Diamond Medallion members get free CLEAR membership. Platinum, Gold and Silver Medallion members can enroll for $109 a year and any non-Medallion SkyMiles member pays just $119. That means that if you are thinking about joining CLEAR, you can save yourself $60 a year simply by becoming a SkyMiles member at no charge.

As for United, MileagePlus Premier 1K members can enroll in CLEAR for free. Premier, Platinum, Gold, and Silver level flyers pay $109 a year, while it will cost Non-Premier flyers $119.

Both airlines also have branded credit cards that could allow you to get a discounted CLEAR membership. If you have one of those cards, check with the issuer to see if you qualify for a discount.

The American Express Green Card also now offers a $100 statement credit if you purchase your membership with the card, which could make your total $79 or less per year.

CLEAR + TSA PreCheck = Even Faster

If you have TSA PreCheck, you can get through security even faster. Where CLEAR expedites your trips through the documents-clearing portion of the process, PreCheck gets you through the physical screening quicker. If you have PreCheck, a CLEAR agent will escort you to the expedited PreCheck lanes once your identity is verified.

It’s important to note, though, that signing up for CLEAR does not automatically get you PreCheck status — they are separate programs.

Where Can You Use CLEAR?

You can use CLEAR at all participating airports and other CLEAR locations, such as stadiums. Check www.clearme.com for participating airports. While a CLEAR Plus membership gives you access to all of them, you can enroll in CLEAR Sports for free to get access to the non-airport venues. Just remember that you will not get the airport benefits with that plan.

Should I Be Worried About Giving My Biometric Data to CLEAR?

To enroll with CLEAR, you have to physically appear at one of their locations, although you can start the process online. CLEAR takes your iris and fingerprint scans. You’ll also have to present a valid driver’s license, U.S. passport, permanent resident card, or U.S. military card. Then you’ll be given a unique personalized quiz based on publicly available information to verify your identity.

So should you be worried about CLEAR knowing this much about you?

According to the company itself, “Privacy is at the center of everything we do at CLEAR and we are fully committed to protecting our members’ information. We never sell or rent personal information. Personal information is only used to deliver a frictionless and secure experience with CLEAR.”

Is CLEAR worth the money?

Obviously, there could be a lot of benefits to being a CLEAR member. But is a membership a good investment for every traveler? As it is fairly expensive, it may only be worth it if you travel more than 10 or 15 times a year. The other thing to consider is if there are CLEAR lanes at the airport or airports you fly in and out of most frequently. If there are not, it may not be worth it.

CLEAR may be a wonderful addition to your toolbox to help you move quicker in your travels. To help you with your ground transportation when you’re traveling, make sure to download our free app, Hoyt-to-Go. You can quickly book, change, check and manage all your car service needs on your phone. To download the app, go to your app store or visit https://www.hoytlivery.com/services/app/.

Source: Clark.com

What to Know If You’re Traveling During the Coronavirus Outbreak

As of February 7, more than 31,500 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed around the world.

Starting in Wuhan, China, the virus has rampantly spread to other parts of Asia, Europe and the U.S leading to more than 600 deaths.

As a result, flights and cruises have cancelled their routes and cities are under quarantine. Here is everything you need to know about traveling while coronavirus spreads, courtesy of Travelandleisure.com.

What is coronavirus?

Coronavirus is a specific strain of coronavirus called 2019 Novel Coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV. It was first discovered in December 2019 in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.

“Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people and others that circulate among animals, including camels, cats and bats,” according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). And 2019-nCoV is the most recent “novel” version found.

Both Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) are caused by a coronavirus, but not the strain that’s currently circulating.

What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

The first symptoms of coronavirus feel a lot like the flu. “You’ll get a fever, cough — it’s primarily a lower respiratory virus — general malaise, there may be some gastrointestinal distress,” Dr. Rebecca Katz, a professor and the director of the Center for Global Health Science and Security at Georgetown University, recently told Travel + Leisure. When complications of the virus occur, patients could develop pneumonia or kidney-related issues, which could lead to death.

What should you do to prevent coronavirus?

You can protect yourself from catching coronavirus the same way you’d protect yourself from catching any other virus. Wash your hands regularly, cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze and be sure to thoroughly cook all meat and eggs. Avoid close contact with people you may see coughing or sneezing.

Which countries are impacted by coronavirus?

As the virus has affected the world, professors from Johns Hopkins University have developed a real-time map to track confirmed cases of coronavirus as it spreads.

Conditions in Wuhan, where the virus was first detected were likened to a wartime scenario this week. The city has been completely quarantined from the rest of China, with transportation links cut. Streets and shelves are empty as residents are urged to go outside only for essential supplies. There have also been two makeshift hospitals put in place to accommodate all patients.

While museums are closed until further notice, China’s National Cultural Heritage Administration has put much of its collection online for visitors to peruse.

The region of Macau has completely shut down for two weeks and none of its famous casinos will be open.

The doctor who first discovered this straint of coronavirus and alerted authorities, Li Wenliang, has died at age 34 of the disease. China has launched an investigation into his death and as to why according to a statement released by the official Xinhua news agency.

Taiwan announced Thursday it would no longer process online or landing visas for citizens of Hong Kong or Macau. The suspension will continue indefinitely.

In Japan, a total of 25 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed. It is the most affected country outside of China; however, no deaths have been reported. Japan’s response to the coronavirus outbreak has been laxer than other countries. Tokyo has only imposed an entry ban for travelers who have been to the Hubei Province within the last 14 days or those who have a passport issued from Hubei. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was adamant that the outbreak will not affect the start of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics this summer.

The other most affected Asian countries are, in order, Singapore, Thailand and South Korea.

Australia closed its borders to foreign arrivals who have been in China within the past 14 days. Australians who are arriving home from China are being met with additional health screenings. There have been 15 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Australia.

Australia flew out 243 citizens who wished to leave Wuhan and transferred them to quarantine on Christmas Island in an immigration detention center, according to the New York Times.

The U.S. has confirmed a total of 12 coronavirus cases since the outbreak The borders have been closed to anyone who has been in China within the last 14 days. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) now requires airlines to ask passengers on inbound flights if they have visited mainland China in the past 14 days.

If they have, they are rerouted to screening centers at one of several airports around the country, including New York JFK and Los Angeles International. If passengers show no symptoms during their enhanced screening, they are rebooked to their final destination — although they are asked to self-quarantine for 14 days.

How are airlines responding?

Airlines around the world have halted service to mainland China amid warnings from the World Health Organization.

In a statement, Lufthansa Group (including Austrian Airlines and SWISS) said they will not accept new bookings to China through the end of February, however the airlines will continue to operate flights to Hong Kong. British Airways announced an “immediate” suspension of flights to mainland China. Reuters reported that there are no flights available to China with the airline through the end of February. Air Canada has also temporarily suspended flights to Beijing and Shanghai.

United, American and Delta have all suspended their service to China, citing low demand. The longest of these cancellations is with Delta, who have suspended mainland China service until April 30.

All airlines will continue to monitor the situation and could change their schedules should there be any change in the situation in China. Many airlines are still operating flights to Hong Kong. Travelers should contact their airline directly for more information.

Airlines are also looking out for their employees as flight attendants on Cathay Pacific were first told to wear masks while working and have now been asked to take three weeks of unpaid leave between March 1 and the end of June, due to a “significant” drop in demand for flights.

Thai Airways is practicing extreme precautions as they are spraying down cabins with a disinfectant after each flight.

How are cruises responding?

While cruise lines have released their own safety in how they’re handling the outbreak, isolated incidents have occurred on various ships.

At the time of this writing, at least 61 passengers on a Japanese cruise ship have been diagnosed with coronavirus. The ship was initially quarantined when an 80-year-old passenger boarded in the Japanese port of Yokohama after having been diagnosed. Sickened passengers have been transported to a hospital on the mainland for treatment.

A ship in Italy couldn’t offload passengers last week for fear that two of them had contracted the virus.

On Friday, February 7, a Royal Caribbean cruise docked in Bayonne, N.J. — 20 miles away New York City — with passengers that will be assessed for coronavirus as they deboard. Four passengers have been sent to the hospital, according to NorthJersey.com.

Should I cancel my trip because of the coronavirus outbreak?

Earlier this week, the U.S. State Department issued a Level 4 — its highest level — warning, notifying Americans not to travel to China. The CDC also issued a warning against all nonessential travel to China. However, this does not include Hong Kong, Macau or Taiwan.

The State Department hasn’t issued any health-related travel advisories against any other Asian countries.

To ensure any upcoming travel plans, calling your hotel and airline directly as well as monitoring updates and alerts will give you the current information.

Source: https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/travel-warnings/coronavirus-china-travel-alerts-what-to-know

Top Travel Apps for 2020

If you plan on traveling in 2020, you can make the process easier and safer by using a good travel app on your smartphone.

Travel apps have become an essential part of helping travelers do everything from booking accommodations to managing their itineraries. But there are thousands of apps for travel on the market and it can be confusing deciding which ones to download.

Here’s a shortlist of the best for 2020, according to planetd.com. Most can be found on the Apple and Google Play App Stores.

TripWise by Allianz

Travel safety is an utmost priority today, so Allianz Global Assistance has taken the guesswork out of travel safety and developed the TripWise App to complement your travel insurance. The app will help you navigate emergencies when traveling.

Features include:

  • Country information – Real-time updates regarding travel alerts, security information, and emergency service numbers (i.e.: 911) of the country you’re visiting.
  • Hospital search – Uses GPS to find an Allianz accredited hospital at your destination.
  • Flight search – Tracks flights within three days for delays and cancelations.
  • Rx and first aid terms – Easy to use medical dictionary to help with deciphering internationally recognized prescription medications. It also translates first aid terms to more than 15 languages.

TripIt Free and Pro

TripIt is a free travel organizer to help with all your upcoming travel itineraries. It keeps all your travel details including flights, hotels and rental car bookings in one place which truly makes life easier when traveling through airports.

When you link your email address to TripIt, it automatically imports all travel plans from your inbox. TripIt stores all your confirmation numbers, contact information, and reservations in one handy itinerary. You’ll even get email alerts about upcoming travel plans.

The Pro version of TripIt offers:

  • Real time updates for flight delays and gate changes.
  • Seat Tracker: Lets you know if a better seat becomes available.
  • Point Tracker: Keeps track of your reward programs for you.
  • International travel tools such as what language, currency exchange and even electricity sockets and plugs to use at your destination.

You can also set an alert for what time to leave your home or hotel for the airport. TripIt lets you know how early you should be at the airport and how long you’ll need to get there. It even gives you your baggage claim details. Cost for the Pro version is $49/year.

Priority Pass

If you fly a lot, you know how important a break from the noise and chaos at the airport can be. When flying business class or when travelers have status with an airline, lounge access is one of the perks.

Priority Pass gives you access to 1300 airport lounges around the world and the app helps you find where they are and what terminal to find them in. Some users have noticed that Priority Pass lounges are often better than the regular airline lounges.

The cost for Priority Pass varies: Standard packages start at $99, but you’ll have to pay $32 per visit. For $299, you get 10 free visits and $429 unlimited free visits. Side note: American Express Platinum Card members get Priority Pass included with their fee.

LoungeBuddy

If you don’t want to pay the annual fee for Priority Pass or the cost of an American Express Platinum Card membership, the Lounge Buddy app is a great option. LoungeBuddy lets you know what lounges you can access and for how much if you do not have a membership to a lounge. It gives the rates and you can even book up to two months in advance. LoungeBuddy lets you know about Priority Pass and Star Alliance too. The LoungeBuddy app is free and you can buy access to a lounge for as low as $25, depending on the location.

Hopper

Hopper is a free app that keeps an eye on air fares and hotel rates and gives price predictions for upcoming bookings. That way, you can determine if you should buy now or wait for better deals.

HotelTonight

For last-minute hotel stays, the free HotelTonight app finds empty rooms and offers discounts to travelers needing to book immediately. Hotels would rather sell a night at a discounted rate than leave a room empty. So if you are flexible and willing to take a chance, this may be a great option.

Smart Traveler Enrollment Program

What is STEP?

The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service that allows U.S. citizens and nationals traveling and living abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Doing so allows you to receive important information from the Embassy about safety conditions in your destination country, so you can make informed decisions about your travel plans.

It also helps the U.S. Embassy contact you in an emergency, whether natural disaster, civil unrest, or family emergency and will enable family and friends to get in touch with you in an emergency.

Sign up at https://step.state.gov/step/

Source: theplanetd.com

Laguardia Terminal Upgrades Continue

Delta Air Lines new Terminal C is opening at LaGuardia Airport (LGA), part of an $8 billion renovation that’s pushing the entire airport closer to Grand Central Parkway.

“We had to do it—we are better than what LaGuardia is,” said New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo at the recent opening celebration, referencing former US Vice President Joe Biden’s 2015 description of LGA as a third-world country.

As a result of both Biden’s brutal honesty and Cuomo’s vision, LGA—known for its threadbare atmosphere, constant delays, never-ending construction and all-round inefficiency—is undergoing a $8 billion overhaul.

First phase of Delta overhaul

The Delta concourse, more than two years in the making, is the first phase of the airline’s new $3.9 billion terminal at the airport. What began in August 2017 is slated to be finished by 2026, according to Ryan Marzullo, the airline’s managing director of corporate real estate in New York. In all, says Marzullo, the project includes four concourses connected to a headhouse, the central part of the terminal where passengers check in and go through security.

Delta is spending around $3.3 billion for the redesign, while the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey is contributing a large amount as well—about $600 million.

Remake of Terminals C and D

The terminal is only one part of a massive renovation that’s pushing the entire airport closer to Grand Central Parkway. Delta is just one phase of the renovation, and not the first one either. That designation belongs to United’s new concourse B, which opened in December 2018.

The seven-gate concourse sits on the water on the eastern side of LaGuardia and boasts dramatic views of Citi Field, home of the Mets. But the new concourse has more amenities than pretty panoramas, including a nursing room and a relief room for dogs, who are increasingly popular travel companions.

In addition, all of the seats at the spacious gate areas are equipped with electrical outlets, an essential item for the modern traveler. A given at most major airports around the world, for LGA, it’s a noteworthy advancement.

Also, there’s dining.

To up LaGuardia’s dining offerings, Delta has teamed with the airport hospitality group OTG, its current partner in Terminal C and D, on five concepts including beloved New York cult brands Birch Coffee, H&H Bagels and Juice Press.

Chef Mark Iacano of Brooklyn’s legendary pizza joint Lucali, consulted on Rossi Pizzeria, a Neopolitan-style pizza spot. New Yorkers not keen on waiting hours to get a table at Lucali can queue up at Rossi for a similar taste and decidedly less hassle.

Chefs Jess Shadbolt and Clare de Boer of Soho’s King Restaurant consulted on Flatiron Tavern & Provisions’ menu of burgers, fish and chops.

“I’m encouraged to see the old terminals finally being replaced,” says Larry Studdiford, the founder of Studdiford Technical Solutions, an airport security and baggage systems consulting firm in Alexandria, Virginia. “It’s time to upgrade the facilities with amenities and operational technologies that meet the demands of record growth in passenger numbers.”

LaGuardia’s upgrades continue to cause delays at any time of the day because Port Authority can decide to setup blockades to prevent vehicles from entering the arrival area. If you’re traveling from LaGuardia with Hoyt Livery, to help alleviate this situation, please communicate with your driver upon receiving a message and if you don’t hear anything to please reach out to dispatch. Learn more.

Source: cnn.com

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

Air Travelers: Get Ready for Real ID October 2020

Newsflash: If you travel by air, beginning October 1, 2020, you will need a Real ID-compliant license or another acceptable form of ID, such as a valid passport or U.S. military ID, to fly within the U.S.

Here’s what you need to know, courtesy of TSA and Travel Weekly.

What is Real ID?

Real ID is the new federal requirement for state-issued driver licenses and non-driver IDs to help prevent fraudulent identification. You are not required to get a REAL ID. However, starting October 1, 2020, if you typically use your driver license or non-driver ID (instead of a passport or other form of ID) to fly within the U.S. you probably want a REAL ID. Otherwise you will need to use a valid U.S. passport or another federally approved form of identification. A standard state driver’s license can still be used for driving.

The Real ID Act passed in 2005 (in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks) that set new and higher minimum-security standards for the driver’s licenses and identification cards that will be accepted at airports, other federally regulated facilities and nuclear power plants.

State-issued Real ID driver’s licenses and identification cards meet increased security standards established by the Real ID Act of 2005. The law establishes what data states must have before issuing a license. It also lays out what technology must be encoded in the IDs and what data must be printed on the IDs.

There has been some debate and pushback from some states over the impact of Real ID, which has created confusion and delayed the official rollout of the act’s enforcement, but October 1, 2020, is now considered the firm date for enforcement at commercial airports.

Starting October 1, 2020, travelers who don’t have Real ID-compliant driver’s licenses or a state-issued enhanced driver’s license can use other acceptable forms of identification such as a passport or U.S. military identification to fly within the United States.

What to do now

Take a look at your driver’s license. If your driver’s license doesn’t have a star in the upper corner of the card, then your license is not Real ID compliant. And if you’re planning to take a domestic commercial flight any time after October 1, 2020, you’ll need to take action, make some decisions or wait for your state to get its act together.

You can decide if you are comfortable flying domestically with your passport (if you have one; only about 40 percent of Americans do) or with one of the other forms of approved identification on the TSA’s list.

“The main pushback on REAL ID is that it’s too Big Brother,” said Jeff Price, an aviation security expert with Leading Edge Strategies. “It’s a move to make everyone in the U.S. have identification, which tends to upset those who enjoy life off the grid or don’t like any more government intrusion into their lives than what is necessary.”

However, nearly every state has come into compliance. “And there haven’t been the big brother/illegal shakedown issues that some people predicted,” he said.

How to get a Real ID

The Department of Homeland Security has been phasing in enforcement of the Real ID Act in an effort to give states time to become compliant with the rules and to begin issuing enhanced driver’s licenses and ID cards in time for the October 1, 2020 deadline.

Most states are currently in compliance — including Connecticut and New York — with the Real ID Act and are able to issue upgraded licenses and IDs. The DHS website has a map with the status of all the states.

Three states (Oregon, Oklahoma, and New Jersey), plus American Samoa have been granted extensions with varying deadlines for meeting the rules. (Some had until August 1, 2019, while others have until October 10, 2019).

What this means

If your current driver’s license or ID card is from a compliant state, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will accept it at airports until September 30, 2020. Starting October 1, 2020, though, licenses and IDs from these states will need to bear a star or special symbol that shows it has been upgraded to conform to the new minimum-security standards.

If your current license is from one of the three states that has been given an extension, then it’s good until the date the extension expires. After that, if the state isn’t given another extension, is it possible the TSA will require an additional or alternate form of ID (i.e., a passport) between the extension expiration date and September 30, 2020.

Come Oct. 1, 2020, though, licenses from these extension states will also need to have the star or symbol that shows it has been upgraded to meet the new minimum-security standards.

The TSA has begun verbally advising travelers who use identification that’s not Real ID-compliant that they’ll not be able to use it to fly beginning October 1, 2020.

“Real ID implementation is a little more than a year away — now is the time to prepare,” said TSA acting deputy administrator Patricia Cogswell in a statement. Since April, TSA has displayed signs at airports to remind travelers about the Real ID requirements.

Source: Travel Weekly

JFK Airport Number One in Amenities, Recent Survey

Best-in-the-nation amenities helped New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport achieve a better-than-average ranking in a new study of the nation’s 50 busiest airports.

Here are the interesting results of the study, courtesy of airportnews.com.

John F. Kennedy International Airport earned the surprising score in a new study by The Points Guy, a resource for travel news. JFK’s No. 1 ranking in amenities helped place it No. 22 overall among the nation’s 50 busiest airports. Other studies have routinely judged JFK among the worst among major U.S. airports, with nearby LaGuardia Airport typically ranked lower if not last.

The study took 34 factors into account, including commute time, flight delays and cancellations, ride-hailing prices, restaurants, lounges and security wait times.

Offsetting JFK’s high finish in amenities was its long commute time (No. 49) and third-worst record for on-time flights. The three local airports accounted for the bottom three rankings in both commute time and flight delays, largely because of congested airspace and roadways and no one-seat train ride to Manhattan.

Newark Liberty International Airport had the nation’s worst commute time and on-time flight record, though it did finish fourth in amenities, pushing its overall ranking to 34th out of 50.

LaGuardia’s ranking (No. 45) was dragged down by its third-worst commute time and second-worst on-time flight record. It was No. 12 in amenities. Major construction is underway at the Flushing airport, and an AirTrain link to Willets Point is in the works, although that multibillion-dollar project is not expected to shorten the trip to Manhattan much.

A spokesman for the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, which operates JFK, LaGuardia and Newark airports, said in a statement, “With an unprecedented $30 billion committed to transform our region’s airports into true 21st-century gateways—and a relentless focus on improving the customer experience—we’re committed to taking the region’s airports from the back of the pack to world-class.”

Among the 50 U.S. airports with the highest passenger volume, San Diego International Airport was ranked best overall, followed by airports in Phoenix, Portland (Oregon), Atlanta and Sacramento.

Chicago-Midway was judged the worst overall, followed by airports in Orlando, Fort Lauderdale and Detroit.

Source: AirportNews.com

Best Summer Vacation Destinations

This summer, get your adventure on! There’s plenty of great deals to be had if you know where to look. To help you get packing, here’s a list of this summer’s best budget travel destinations, courtesy of the travel writers of forbes.com.

San Antonio, Texas

From strolling along the San Antonio River Walk to chasing thrills at Six Flags Fiesta Texas, there’s plenty of fun and food to be had. Whether you’re craving Tex-Mex or authentic Mexican food, San Antonio has it. Also visit San Fernando Cathedral, which hosts nightly light shows at no cost. If you find yourself visiting San Antonio during the weekend, be sure to wander through the farmer’s market at the Pearl Brewery.

Puebla, Mexico

Puebla is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it’s easy to see why. Architecture lovers could spend days exploring the historical center and marveling at what seems like an endless number of churches.

Despite this being Mexico’s fourth largest city, you’ll hardly see any other tourists. It’s one of those cities where you can just soak in the tranquil atmosphere. The region is known for its mole sauce, so be sure to sample when visiting.

Hawaii

Flights to Hawaii from the mainland are generally pretty cheap, especially in the past few years. Although it isn’t the most inexpensive when you arrive, it’s well worth it because you get the South Pacific feel with the comforts of the United States—and a shorter plane flight. Check out Maui, and the little visited island of Lanai. For golf lovers, the Four Seasons at Lanai is recommended.

St. Helena

Saint Helena is a volcanic tropical island in the South Atlantic Ocean, 2,500 miles east of Rio de Janeiro. While a trek to get there in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean, it’s a relatively cheap destination once you arrive.

This off-the-beaten path location offers great hiking, fascinating English mixed with island culture, good food and even the world’s most remote golf course. The airport alone makes it worth a visit as they basically shaved down a mountain to make it possible. St. Helena is probably not on your short list but it should be on your bucket list.

Province of Laguna, the Philippines

The Philippines is already popular because of its white sand beaches in Palawan, Cebu or Boracay; the surfing in Siargao, the mountains in the north but Laguna Province is less well known.

If you have a few days stopover in Manila, make sure to visit the Province of Laguna. It has hot springs as well as San Pablo City, also known as the City of Seven Lakes. Most of these attractions are easily accessed by car rental or taking the local public transportation called tricycle, which costs less than $10.

Agra, India

Home to the Taj Mahal, Agra is on many traveler’s lists. And although it costs around $43 to enter, the surrounding area is relatively inexpensive. It is definitely a well-known destination, so if you want your Taj Mahal shot, be sure to go in the morning. Considered to be the jewel of Islamic art in India, it was built by Emperor Shah Jahan as a mausoleum for his wife—possibly one of the most extravagant declarations of love in history.

Buenos Aires, Argentina

There is no city in the world as intoxicating as Buenos Aires. The streets are lined with grand European-style architecture, cozy cafés and endless parks. The staples of life in this budget-friendly city are steak, wine, empanadas and ice cream. Three cheers for the Southern Hemisphere.

South Africa

Prepare to be blown away by the beauty of South Africa. It’s a very diverse place in terms of its nature, people and activities.  One day, you may be hiking up a mountain and the next, diving with sharks in the Atlantic Ocean. You’ll be surprised by the extreme low cost of Uber and transport there. The food is also fairly inexpensive, as well as delicious.

Zanzibar

Zanzibaris are so much fun and friendly. While there are expensive resorts there, you can still find some inexpensive bed and breakfasts and hostels in Stone Town that allow you to be right next to the Indian Ocean, where all the excitement, and restaurants are.

Armenia

Set in the Caucasus Mountains, Armenia is a hidden gem that’s still untouched by mass tourism, and yet has so much to offer: rich history, wineries, impressive landscapes, ancient monasteries and breathtaking mountains as far as your eyes can see. The capital, Yerevan, is a lively city with wide avenues, delicious restaurants, museums and street markets selling local handicrafts.

Outside of the capital is picturesque nature. You can pay a visit to the oldest winery in the world in Areni, stop by stunning monasteries, or check out the oldest cathedral in the world in Etchmiadzin.

Serbia

Serbia is one of Europe’s best-kept secrets. It’s one of those places that has such an amazing energy that it leaves you wanting more. In the bustling city of Belgrade, there’s something happening every hour of every day. The streets are filled with amazing restaurants, cute cafés, bars and clubs. The friendly locals are always out and about. You will find people of all ages enjoying the outdoor cafés and drinking rakija (the national drink of Serbia). The restaurants have a great mix of both local and international dishes and are great for trying new dishes. Try the komplet lepinja, cevapi and karađorđeva šnicla. The nightlife in Serbia is one of a kind. There are floating bars and clubs along the Danube riverbank. Parties go on till the early morning hours.

Transylvania, Romania

Home to myths and some of the world’s most hospitable locals, Transylvania is a budget traveler’s dream destination. The stunning Carpathian Mountains offer the perfect backdrop to one of Europe’s often overlooked regions.

Guests can experience Romania’s roots free of the mass commercialization, and the high prices, that we see in more popular European destinations. From sampling local dishes like ciorbă, mici and palinka, to skiing in Sinaia, you’ll have a wide range of budget-friendly activities to keep you entertained.

George Town, Penang, Malaysia

A mixture of cultures, cuisines and architecture come together to create an atmosphere that on paper shouldn’t work but somehow does. Chinese, Indian, Malay and British influences can be seen at every turn you make in this Penang Island UNESCO World Heritage Site. What makes George Town stand out are the quarters that make up the city, each one boasting a distinct community and history, all linked together by the beautiful street art found throughout. With a diverse population, beautiful culture and amazing food, George Town is a perfect addition to anyone’s travel bucket list.

Moscow, Russia

Moscow, like the rest of Russia, has a stereotype of being a bitterly cold destination. That is true during the winter months, however during the summer, you can expect steady sunshine and clear skies so put on your shades, grab a bliny and wander around the Red Square with ease.

Taipei, Taiwan

The capital of Taiwan is growing in popularity in East Asia but often goes unnoticed by the masses. In comparison to Hong Kong or Tokyo, think of Taipei as the quieter kid on the block. With some of the best food markets in all of Asia, buzzing shopping districts like Xiamen and the stunning nearby Yangminshan National Park, Taipei offers something for everyone. Pro tip: Taipei won’t break the bank but don’t expect it to be as cheap as Vietnam.

No matter where you decide to vacation this summer, whether within the US or abroad, let Hoyt Livery get your whole family to the airport and back home. With family-sized luxury vans with room for everyone’s luggage, Hoyt Livery can get you there safely, comfortably and in style.

Source: forbes.com