PLUS: Amsterdam's fed up with 'nuisance Brits'
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December 6, 2022 | View OnlineSign Up

Is dreaming about hopping on the wrong flight considered a nightmare? Because if so, this woman literally lived hers, accidentally flying to another country.

I’m just trying to wrap my head around the trauma of finding out you’re on the wrong flight, having to endure the rest of it, and then turning around to hop on the correct flight. Was she at least allowed to keep all those miles she earned?

In today’s edition:

  • Real ID deadline pushed back – again

  • Amsterdam tells problematic tourists to go away

  • TSA now wants to scan your face at security

  • Southwest’s big plans for 2023




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Real ID deadline is extended again, this time until 2025

That was fast…

Yesterday, we told you that the Real ID deadline was fast approaching. Well, US officials must have felt that the May 3rd, 2023 deadline was still too close and pushed it back another two years. Now, flyers won’t need Real ID-compliant licenses to board domestic flights until 2025.

When is the new deadline?

The Real ID Act will not be enforced until May 2025, according to The Department of Homeland Security.

The DHS pointed to "the lingering impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic" as the reason for the delay, noting that the pandemic made it difficult for people to obtain licenses or identification cards that are Real ID-compliant. The delay is meant to give states enough time to work through backlogs.

Real ID enforcement has been repeatedly delayed since the original deadline in 2008. And while no one likes going to the DMV, 17 years seems like more than enough time for everyone to upgrade their standard license by 2025.


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Amsterdam tourism campaign wants to discourage ‘nuisance’ tourists

Amsterdam is so fed up with nuisance tourists that it recently launched what might be the world’s first anti-tourism campaign – telling tourists that come for sex, drugs, and drinking to stay away from the city altogether.

In a new 'discouragement campaign' largely aimed at British tourists, widely considered to be the worst-behaved visitors to Amsterdam, the city hopes to change its reputation as a destination for drugs, alcohol, and prostitution. 

The city council is concerned that tourist activity in the red light district, known for its legalized brothels and window displays of sex workers, creates a vulgar and voyeuristic atmosphere. Local residents are also seemingly fed up with the constant influx of intoxicated tourists and rowdy bachelor parties stumbling through the city's streets.

“The aim of the discouragement campaign is to keep out visitors that we do not want. If we love the city, we must take action now”, shared Sofyan Mbarki, Amsterdam's deputy mayor responsible for implementing the tourism measures.

New rules in Amsterdam
The advertising campaign comes as the city has been introducing new measures to curb offensive visitor behavior and rejuvenate its reputation as a world-class tourism destination. 

Some of those plans include relocating the red light district and moving approximately 100 brothel windows from the city center to a multi-story 'erotic centre' on the outskirts of town, limiting bachelor parties and pub crawls, and a ban on smoking weed in city center streets.


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Credit: Transportation Security Administration

TSA to expand facial recognition technology at US airports

TSA says, “1,2,3… smile! We’re analyzing and capturing your face.”

Transportation Security Administration officials have quietly been testing controversial facial recognition technology at 16 major domestic airports for passenger screening and plan on expanding the system to all airports in the United States by next year.

The identification system — called Credential Authentication Technology with Camera (CAT-2) – compares live photos of travelers with images on their driver's license or state ID card in order to confirm their identity, eliminating the need for TSA agents to manually verify each traveler's ID.

Originally implemented at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in DC due to coronavirus concerns, the technology has grown to include airports like Los Angeles International Airport, Orlando International Airport, and Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

Do I have to get my face scanned? 

Travelers concerned about their information being stored or their personal data being leaked can choose the standard TSA screening process and opt out of this new screening method.

“None of this facial recognition technology is mandated,” TSA official, Jason Lim shared. “Those who do not feel comfortable will still have to present their ID, but they can tell the officer that they do not want their photo taken, and the officer will turn off the live camera.”

Facial recognition, which has been banned by cities such as San Francisco, is said to improve security and efficiency, but it also brings inexperienced technology to the most stressful part of traveling, with racial bias and misidentification problems that still remain problematic.


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Eric Salard/Wikimedia (CC by 2.0)

Southwest is rolling out these improvements in 2023

During a media presentation last week at its Dallas headquarters, Southwest announced plans for improved travel experiences for the coming year and passengers can expect plenty of improvements.

Among the improvements are changes to family boarding, solving the frustration that comes with the airline’s long-standing policy of no assigned seating that often ends up splitting families apart when seats together become unavailable throughout the boarding process.

With 60 boarding spots within the A group, seating as a family can be challenging. Therefore, in the coming weeks, the airline plans to test a revamped family boarding program, allowing two adults and children under the age of six to board first. As a trade-off, families will need to sit at the back of the plane to skip the boarding queue.

Southwest may expand this change based on the outcome of the trial.

Here’s the scoop on other major updates: 

  • Restoring most pre-pandemic routes and frequencies by the third quarter.

  • Boeing 737s will be upgraded with better Wi-Fi access, still at $8 a day.

  • Power outlets at each seat address a pain point of long-haul flights.

  • New, larger overhead bins that can hold six standard-size suitcases.

  • A new terminal expected to open in Kansas City around February or March 2023.


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The timing is a bit too convenient for this to NOT be a Lensa AI x TSA collab...


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