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Industry News / Opinions NEW PARENT PSA: International Infant Fares

Discussion in 'questions. answers. conversations.' started by Dani, Dec 19, 2017.

  1. Dani

    Dani Reader

    I totally recognize that the below is a totally stupid mistake on my end but if posting this helps one new parent avoid what just happened to me, it's worth it. Also I can't help but wondering how much money AA generates from vague policy wordings that pave the way for new parents making this mistake:

    We booked our tickets to London awhile ago and are traveling with our 12 month baby. In a classic, new parent, Home Alone move I didn’t think to call the American Airlines to add an infant on lap until yesterday (the day before the flight) as there wasn’t that option via their online booking platform for international flights. Totally stupid rookie oversight.

    Cut to last night, the night before our flight: packing, packing, check in, check in, boarding pass, boarding pa—oh shit. Freak out, freak out.

    We called American who issued a ticket right away... along with a $350 charge which included a 10% charge on the CURRENT ticket price + taxes and fees. They initially resisted to give me the exact breakdown until I really insisted and that’s when it was revealed that the current ticket price was over twice of our original - a $100+ difference. The tone of their customer service was pretty rude. Their attitude being - you made a mistake so you deserve to pay.

    At one point, when I highlighted the fact that infant on lap wasn’t even a selectable option on their online booking platform for international flights (it only appears for domestic) nor is it overtly stated anywhere in their policies that upon completing our booking ticket holders should call immediately to avoid getting charged more for our baby, the woman informed me that maybe I should have been a grown up and thought to call to add our baby right away.

    Awesome - when in doubt throw in some mom shame.

    I recognize that this was completely a dumb oversight on my part but I can’t help but feel that it’s also a rather poor policy of American Airlines that punishes first time parents who just don’t know better. The wording on their policy is vague and I could not find anywhere where it explicitly says infants in lap would be charged a percentage of the CURRENT airfare.These are not mutually exclusive points. Ultimately the airfare hike is arbitrary. The baby doesn’t take up more space for the airline in my lap two months ago than he would now.

    I let American know that to us the charge amount felt a bit like extortion as, at this point, we would obviously pay any price to have our baby fly with us to which she replied me “you either give me your credit card number now or you won’t be flying with your baby tomorrow.”

    Happy holidays from American!
  2. Tiffany

    Tiffany One Mile At A Time

    Likes Received:
    Hi Dani,

    Sorry you had to deal with that! I updated your title because this isn't exclusive to American -- all airlines have this policy. Regardless of whether the adults are traveling on paid tickets or award tickets, the infant fare is based off x% of the adult fare on the day you call to issue the award ticket. And you always have to call in to book it.

    Some more info in these posts:

    I would try not to feel too badly about it -- all airfare pricing is pretty arbitrary, and now you know for next time. I hope you have a great trip regardless!
    Gaurav, Woodrow and No Name like this.