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Cathay Pacific

Woman flies from Taiwan to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific plane – with Hong Kong Airlines ticket

Airline reviewing check-in procedures after traveller was issued boarding pass for male passenger with same surname

PUBLISHED : Friday, 19 February, 2016, 11:58am
UPDATED : Friday, 19 February, 2016, 12:25pm

Cathay Pacific admitted an error was made in its check-in procedures after a woman in Taiwan successfully flew to Hong Kong on one of its planes when she was supposed to travel on a different airline.

The incident has also put flight boarding procedures in Taiwan in question, and the airline is currently investigating the cause of the error.

In early February, Taiwan resident Ms Hong, 34, arrived at Taoyuan Airport to board her flight to Hong Kong. Her boyfriend had earlier booked a round-trip Hong Kong Airlines flight ticket for her.

At the airport, Hong mistakenly went to the Cathay Pacific kiosk to check in. Yet, a Cathay Pacific employee at the kiosk issued her a boarding pass that was intended for a male passenger with the same surname.

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Hong then managed to smoothly board the Cathay Pacific plane to Hong Kong with no one, including local immigration authorities and ground crew at the gate, stopping her.

The error was discovered only when Hong arrived in Hong Kong and her boyfriend received a message from Hong Kong Airlines that she had not shown up.

“[The name on the air ticket] wasn’t me. Even the sex [on the air ticket] was not right. This is ridiculous,” Ms Hong told the Apple Daily in Taiwan after the incident.

She added the incident was very serious, as it appeared that anyone holding a passport could easily obtain a boarding pass without any verification.

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According to Hong, when she approached Cathay Pacific for assistance, the airline was at first not very helpful. But Cathay Pacific later coordinated with Hong Kong Airlines to arrange a return flight to Taiwan for her. Cathay Pacific also offered her use of its VIP lounge the next time she travelled abroad.

Confirming the incident on Friday, a Cathay Pacific spokeswoman said: “Initial investigations indicated that there was an error in the check-in procedures.

“We take this matter seriously and are in the process of securing more information from the relevant teams and reviewing the check-in procedures on that day to ensure that similar incidents will not happen again.”

A spokeswoman for Hong Kong Airlines confirmed that Hong did not travel on her scheduled flight from Taipei to Hong Kong on the day of the incident.