Com­ing of age

For­eign­ers de­bate Shanghai Dis­ney­land’s height-based child tick­et­ing pol­icy

Global Times – Metro Shanghai - - FRONT PAGE -

Age and height are two fre­quently used stan­dards to de­ter­mine the price of a child’s ticket on pub­lic trans­porta­tion as well as at lo­cal at­trac­tions. How­ever, which is more rea­son­able and fair?

The Mir­ror re­ported in July that a judge sur­named Liu from South China’s Guang­dong Prov­ince brought Shanghai Dis­ney­land to court in March for bas­ing the price of a child’s ticket on height.

In Jan­uary, Liu booked a child’s ticket for his 10-year-old daugh­ter. How­ever, when he went to the park to ob­tain a pa­per ticket, he was told by a Dis­ney staff that his daugh­ter needed to buy an adult ticket be­cause she was more than 1.4 me­ters tall.

Liu did not think that it was rea­son­able to charge for a child ticket by height. Fur­ther­more, he ar­gued that Dis­ney parks in other coun­tries and re­gions charge for chil­dren’s tick­ets ac­cord­ing to their age.

The Global Times re­cently in­ter­viewed a num­ber of for­eign­ers in Shanghai to talk about what they feel is the proper way to charge kids for tick­ets. Most of our in­ter­vie­wees agreed that charg­ing ac­cord­ing to age is more fair.

“I think the rea­son­able way would be to charge by age, be­cause chil­dren can be any dif­fer­ent height,” Calvin Yu from Canada told the Global Times. He be­lieves that the cut-off age for a child’s ticket should be 5, 10 and then 12 years old. Cana­dian Shiva Sha­bani be­lieves that safety is most im­por­tant. “So, if it’s at an amuse­ment park, def­i­nitely by height,” she said, adding that the av­er­age age for a kid to have to pay should be 10 to 12 years old.

Age more rea­son­able

Aus­tralian Harry Mase­field thinks charg­ing chil­dren by their height opens up a dif­fi­cult chain of logic. “If you start charg­ing based on height, then maybe peo­ple are go­ing to say you should also charge air­line tick­ets based on how heavy peo­ple are,” he said.

Irene from Costa Rica thinks age is more rea­son­able. “You could get a su­per tall 12-year-old kid,” she said. “But I would like to pay like a kid, be­cause I am kid size,” she added as a joke.

Char­lotte and Daniel from the US think it is weird to charge by height be­cause chil­dren can be too short or too high. Ni­cola Fouché from South Africa told the Global Times that it should de­pend on the coun­try. She be­lieves that, in China, charg­ing by height is not rea­son­able be­cause she has found that a lot of Chi­nese chil­dren are quite small com­pared to those in her coun­try.

“Even if they are like 5 years old, they can be re­ally small. Whereas back home, some of our kids are quite tall al­ready,” she said, adding that charg­ing by age is much more rea­son­able.

Isaac Men­doza from Mex­ico thinks both are im­por­tant. “If it is for trans­porta­tion, it de­pends on the space that a per­son oc­cu­pies. But if it is at a park, it should be by age be­cause a kid is un­able to en­ter any game if he/she is un­der a cer­tain height.”

Us­ing both stan­dards

Cur­rently, both height and age are used to charge for chil­dren’s tick­ets in China. Many places are even us­ing both stan­dards at the same time. For in­stance, the tick­et­ing sys­tem of China rail­way shows that a child who is shorter than 1.2 me­ters is free, a kid who mea­sures 1.2 to 1.5 me­ters should pay half-price, and any child who is taller than 1.5 me­ters must buy a full-price ticket.

How­ever, air­line tick­ets in China are based on age. Ac­cord­ing to the rules of Civil Avi­a­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion of China, chil­dren un­der 2 years old pay 10 per­cent of the adult price with no seat pro­vided (each adult is only al­lowed to take one child), and those aged over 2 but who are no more than 12 years old pay half of an adult ticket, with a seat pro­vided.

The Beijing News re­ported in July that 16 at­trac­tions in Cen­tral China’s He­nan Prov­ince an­nounced be­fore Chil­dren’s Day of this year that they had im­ple­mented a new ticket pol­icy for chil­dren which com­bines both age and height. For in­stance, not charg­ing chil­dren un­der 1.4 me­ters or younger than 8 years old.

Ac­cord­ing to our in­ter­vie­wees, age is more widely used in other coun­tries and re­gions to de­ter­mine the price of a child’s ticket.

Half-price tick­ets

Mase­field told the Global Times that, in Aus­tralia, a child’s ticket goes by age. “So for par­ents, they get to pay chil­dren’s prices for their kids for a fixed num­ber of years re­gard­less of how quickly that child grows and how tall they get,” he said, adding that it is gen­er­ally about half price.

Fouché said that, in South Africa, roller coast­ers at a theme park usu­ally go by height, which Fouché be­lieves is for safety con­cerns. But for movies, they are charged based on age, with 12 the cut-off age.

Men­doza said that, in Mex­ico, all peo­ple pay the same price. “Only ba­bies in their mother’s arms don’t pay for trans­porta­tion,” he said.

But Irene told the Global Times that, in Costa Rica, tick­ets are some­times based on a kid’s height. “Peo­ple who are shorter than a me­ter and a half will prob­a­bly pay half price,” she said.

Ac­cord­ing to Char­lotte, Daniel, Sha­bani and Yu, kids’ tick­ets in the US and Canada go by age while height will be con­sid­ered at an amuse­ment park. “You have to be a cer­tain size to get on a ride,” Char­lotte added.

Photos: Chen Xia/GT and VCG

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