The kiosk apparently granted a woman access to a supposedly secure off-limits area of the terminal for more than 40 hours. That's a full workweek for a certified terrorist, if anyone's keeping track. The kiosk "mistakenly (gave the customer) a boarding pass in the name of a passenger whose surname was the same as hers and who was to have taken the same flight as her. As the carrier's self-service check-in system was not linked to its traditional check-in counter, two boarding passes were issued in the same passenger's name," according to this detailed report from the Central News Agency carried in the ETaiwanNews. "As to why she was able to remain in a controlled area for over 40 hours, the officer said most likely the immigration officers did not carefully check whether the name on the boarding pass was exactly the same as that of the passport holder."
It's a sad lesson in automation that the more we trust machines to handle customers directly, the more we discover that, yes, there actually can exist entities that are sloppier than apathetic customer service reps. As retailers embrace self-attendant kiosks more, IT should take note of an incident this week at the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.