Aboriginal passenger struggles to board for using tribal name

Ground crew told him that he needed to show identification with his “English” name if he wanted to book the ticket using his “English” name

TAIPEI (Taiwan News)-- An aboriginal passenger was denied boarding by Uni Air on Sunday for using his tribal name.

Nagao Kunaw, also known by his Mandarin name, Chen Ruei-jhe, is an Atayal from Nantou County studying at National Taiwan University’s Graduate Institute of Journalism.

Nagao Kunaw said that he booked the ticket by using his aboriginal name, but was not able to check in by using the airline’s self check in kiosk for the flight to Taipei at Taitung Airport on Sunday, so he turned to the ground crew for help.

The ground crew told him that they could not find his booking record, and accusing him of not booking his ticket in advance. Nagao Kunaw took out his national identification card which lists both his Aboriginal name and Mandarin name. When he showed them that he had booked the ticket under his aboriginal name, the ground crew told him that he needed to show identification with his “English” name if he wanted to book the ticket using his “English” name.

Nagao Kunaw said that he explained to the Uni Air ground crew that it is his aboriginal name instead of “English” name, and questioned the airline staff why a national identification card is not considered as a valid document.

Uni Air yesterday apologized for refusing to allow the passenger to check in. Nagao Kunaw later said on Facebook that Uni Air’s director at Taitung Airport had called him yesterday morning to apologize, adding that his attitude was very sincere.