The Eye on Taiwan news staff
Government authorities in Taiwan are urged to take tougher action against people who buy air tickets only for the purpose of entering the airports’ transit areas in order to meet friends or purchase duty-free products.
According to officials of Taiwanese and foreign airlines, there has been an increase in the number of passengers who have checked into Taoyuan International Airport and Taipei Sungshan Airport but failed to board the planes in the end.
“This not only has created problems for the airlines as they are required to find the missing passengers and unload the baggage those passengers have checked in for security reason but has also caused the delay of the flights,” said an official with the China Airlines, Taiwan’s major carrier.
Another official with the EVA Air, one of Taiwan’s leading carriers, said those passengers often use the excuses of having overslept in the transit lounge or failing to take note of the boarding time or the boarding announcement while busily shopping at the retail stores in the transit area.
“While some of these passengers would ask for the change of their flight schedules, some others simply leave the airport along with the things they have purchased, and you never know if they really want to board the planes or not,” the official said.
Airlines operators said it is necessary for the government to revise the law or relevant regulations to make misusing boarding pass an offense, like what has been done in Singapore. Otherwise, problems like this would continue to show up to trouble both the airlines, the airports and other passengers in the face of extremely low airfares offered by budget airlines, they said.
Currently, there is no law dealing with people misusing their boarding passes.
Late last month, police in Singapore arrested two women for misusing their boarding passes at the transit area of Changi Airport.
Investigations showed that one of the women, 20-year-old, had bought an air ticket to meet a Korean boy band, while another woman, 23, had used her air ticket to shop at the retail stores in the transit area. They both had no intention to depart Singapore, according to Singapore Police Force.
Under Singapore’s law, those who misuse their boarding passes to enter into the transit areas with no intention to proceed to their next destinations are liable for an offense under the Protected Areas and Protected Places Act.
The offender may be prosecuted in court and shall be liable on conviction to a fine of $1,000 (NT$22,000) or to imprisonment for a term of two years or to both, according to the law.
That law stipulates that any passenger who enters the airport’s transit area with a boarding pass should only be there for the purpose of traveling to their next destination.
In 2017, police in Singapore arrested 92 persons for the misuse of boarding passes.