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Infant Travel: Hong Kong Airlines discriminates against people with children

  1. #1
    henrysdad123 is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2018

    Infant Travel: Hong Kong Airlines discriminates against people with children

    Hi all,

    I wanted to report a negative experience I am having with Hong Kong Airlines, just in case anyone was thinking about travelling with their infant. If you will be, I strongly advise against using Hong Kong Airlines as they have made it clear repeatedly that they discriminate against people with children. My experience is below. If you do decide to use Hong Kong Airlines, all I can say is caveat emptor...

    My wife and I have been planning a trip for quite some time so we can bring our son Henry to visit my wife's family in China for the Chinese New Years. At the time of travel, Henry will be 11 months old and we are hoping it will be his first time visiting his grand parents and my wife's side of the family. My wife is currently studying for the medical boards, so money is tight since she does not have income. We found round trip tickets online for $460 per person including all taxes and fees and thought this was a reasonable deal. After calling many airlines it appeared that an additional 10% of the adult ticket purchased was the standard cost to also bring a lap, so the deal seemed reasonable.

    After booking the ticket I called Hong Kong Airlines back and they changed their story to say that the ticket will be significantly more expensive. A fellow named Roland at the call center told me cost for the infant ticket would be 2414 HKD ($308.53 USD) if he applied special one-time discounts. This seemed amazing to me they would charge me more than 2/3 of the cost of an adult ticket just to bring Henry on the plane and be able to hold him. If I want a seat for Henry the price goes up even higher -- 67% of the adult fare is just to be able to hold him on my lap for the entire flight!

    At first, Roland's justification for the higher fair was that since I purchased the ticket through a travel agent, my fare would not apply to the infant. Upon him telling me this, I checked the Hong Kong Airlines website, where I found that the "Retail price" directly from HK Air was 4070.60HKD ($507 USD) including taxes and fees. I told Roland that even if it were 10% of 4070.60 HKD, that would not total 2414HKD. Roland's rebuttal was that for people that have infants, their adult ticket would cost 8500HKD and not 4070.60HKD, and it was only 2414HKD and not much more because he was offering me a special price. I was appalled -- how can an airline discriminate against people who have children by not allowing them to buy infant tickets unless they spend twice as much on their own tickets! I asked Roland a few times about Hong Kong Airline's discrimination against people with children, only to receive the same information from him every time.

    Increasingly frustrated, both in terms of his lack of customer service and difficulty in communicating with, I asked Roland more than 30 times to provide me with the name and phone number of his boss so I can contact them directly. Every time Roland refused, saying he is a supervisor and at best his boss would call me back.

    The next day I received a call back from Hong Kong Airlines. Expecting someone superior to Roland, the call from was from another call center representative at the same level as Roland. 30 minutes on the phone with the representative and the same story -- Hong Kong Airlines discriminates against people with children by making them pay twice as much for their own ticket, just for the privilege to then pay more money to be able to hold their infant on the plane. Same bottom line -- a person with no children pays $460 USD, but if he has a lap child he is not eligible for that ticket. I told the agent this was unacceptable and once again asked for a manager, only to be told I will receive a call back from corporate.

    The same exercise occurred yet again, except after 5 more days of not hearing back. After 5 days I decided to follow up and call. The call center told me a fellow named Thomas was working on my case and will contact me as soon as he gets in. Two more days pass and I call back again and finally get in touch with Thomas only to find out that he is yet another employee from the call center and not even from corporate. He tells me the same story about Hong Kong Airlines discriminating against people with children. I tell him that I will take my story to social media if I do not hear from corporate by the end of the day. I finally get an email from corporate stating the same thing -- shady pricing games that ultimately discriminate against people with children.

    Right now I am stuck between a rock and a hard place. Hong Kong Airlines is making it such that our son can only meet his grand parents if we pay their "holding a baby on the flight" extortion fee and somehow come up with money that we do not have. Hong Kong Airlines kept telling us they will escalate the case, but in the time that has passed in waiting on their "fair resolution", the reasonably priced flights on other airlines are now gone. We are strongly considering cancelling our trip, which would be heart-breaking to all of us since my wife and Henry would not be able to see their family and vice versa.

    In any event, my goal here is not to obtain sympathy for ourselves, but rather to warn other parents considering Hong Kong Airlines. Here are some of my conclusions:

    (1) Hong Kong Airlines discriminates against people with children by charging them twice as much for their tickets in addition to the infant tickets. The advertised fare of 4070.60HKD for adults becomes 8500HKD if you have children. Same seat and same ticket -- just it becomes twice as much if you have children.
    (2) Hong Kong Airlines does not offer transparent pricing. Where one agent might tell you an infant ticket cost 10% of the ticket price of the adult passenger, another agent might then try to charge you closer to 50% of the adult ticket price.
    (3) Hong Kong Airlines does not value customer service, as illustrated by me having spent more than 50+ mins on my first call with no resolution. After doing so, I was called back by another call center representative rather than a manager, and spent another 30+ minutes on the phone with her. Four call later and I speak to the "manager on my case" who turns out to be another call center representative, spending another 20 minutes with him. After all this, I get nothing but a low-level email from corporate. I email back to corporate asking them to call me so we can discuss the case and never hear back.

  2. #2
    rani's Avatar
    rani is offline Administrator
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Pokfulam, Hong Kong

    Hi, this practice is followed by quite a few airlines. Infant/child fares are calculated from full adult fares. Hope you were able to find a resolution.

    Founded GeoBaby in 2002

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