Coming of age
Foreigners debate Shanghai Disneyland’s height-based child ticketing policy
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.
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.
A Mickey Mouse statue