LONDON — It can cost an arm and a leg, and maybe even an ear or two extra these days to take the whole family to the movies or the nearest amusement park. Discounted tickets for the youngsters help ease the cost, that is until your 7-year-old no longer qualifies for the 6-and-under price. A new survey finds, however, that a third of parents lies about their kids’ ages in order to save extra cash on tickets and travel.
Researchers polled 1,500 parents on the in the United Kingdom on the lengths they’d go to get discounted fares. The survey commissioned by Heathrow Express, which provides rail service for travelers at London’s Heathrow Airport.
The survey found that not only do plenty of people fib for reduced rates, but one in 10 parents admit to going to “extremes” just to save a few bucks, such as training their kids to play the part. That includes practicing things to say should the children be asked to verify their age themselves or forcing them to talk in a younger-sounding voice.
Other extremes include parents finding ways to hide the child completely from a ticket taker or simply telling them to pretend they’re asleep to avoid more thorough questioning.
Sometimes all it takes is just looking young enough to get the child discount. A quarter of respondents agreed that there’s nothing wrong with trying to make the child look younger than he or she really is.
As for who is trying to beat the system more frequently, the survey found the youngest segment of parents (ages 18-24) were more likely to try and pull a fast one as opposed to parents and grandparents 55 and over.
And perhaps not surprisingly, dads were more likely to try and bend the rules on discount tickets than moms.