Weekend what we’re reading: Comparison of premium-economy, bungalows over water, facial recognition

by Charlie Leocha on December 8, 2012


This weekend we look at flying almost-business-class, sleeping in dreamy overwater bungalows and the coming world of facial recognition.

Fly almost-business-class for a fraction of the cost

Today’s airline seat configurations now have a return to a middle class. Once it was business class between first and tourist. Now, it is premium economy (or some such name) between business class and tourist. A few inches of additional pitch and recline only cost a few dollars more.

With fewer available flights, widespread passenger dissatisfaction, and glamour a distant Eisenhower-era memory, the ailing airline industry is rolling out the red carpet in small but significant ways to woo back customers. Enter “Premium Economy” class, an increasingly popular option offering a superior flight experience at a fraction of the exorbitant cost of business class.

A hybrid between Business and Economy, Premium Economy has been available for years on long-haul international carriers like Air New Zealand and Virgin Atlantic — where 10-plus-hour flights necessitate extra conveniences to keep passengers from revolting.

10 amazing overwater bungalows you can sleep in
Here is a collection of dreamy overnight, overwater bungalows where sleeping is a whole different experience and where some might check off an item on their bucket list.

For most of us, staying in an overwater bungalow perched above some turquoise lagoon far, far away, is a dream trip, a once-in-a-lifetime thing. We scrimp and save so we can spare no expense. And it’s worth it —especially if you’re headed for one of the world’s best.

Escape with us to thatched-roof hideaways where colorful reefs await at the bottom of your ladder and glass floor panels and outdoor showers remind you that there’s no vacation quite like this.

Your face is your ticket

New facial recognition software is being developed for better security. Many feel that this software will find its way into airport and airline operations. Your face might become your ticket. The facial recognition can also be used to trigger specific customer service. Your Bloody Mary might automatically appear or your coffee may come hot with three creamers, just the way you like it.

Placed at the entrance to the aircraft, the system elevates aircraft security by comparing the faces of those entering the airplane with a known database and alerting the crew of the entry of any unauthorized person.

See3 uses nearly 100,000 values to code a face image. Among the less complex of these are the obvious inter-ocular distance, distance between nose tip and eyes and the ratio of dimensions of the bounding box of the face. At this point, accuracy is between 75 and 90 percent, but Flight Display continues to add algorithms to improve on this.

Depending on the size of the database, said Flight Display founder and president David Gray, changes in hair style or the addition of a moustache or beard, glasses or makeup will not affect the accuracy of the system. While aircraft security is important, he added, See3 can also trigger passengers’ cabin preferences.

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  • Anonymous

    Premium economy was the OLD economy :-)
    So they pushed the economy seat rows much closer together and made them SUB economy so they can have room for the so-called Premium Economy. Airline economists at their best! Oh, I forgot they came from the same finance school(s) that brought us our current [wall street] economy.

  • Anonymous

    Although the facial recognition concept seems a bit creepy (“There’s Karla, going into the bar again” syndrome), I do like the idea of not having to carry around a lot of papers, tickets, etc. (And, yes, having my Bloody Mary ready to drink at my seat in FC would be nice)

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