Does a seven-month-old baby require a full price ticket for the Olympic games, or not?

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Aug 5, 2012 14:20
In April 2011, I applied for tickets for the Olympic games. The games included the opening ceremony, the closing ceremonty, men's fencing foil final, judo final, men's 100 m final, tennis, synchronized swimming. For all the games, I applied for two people, my wife and me.

It was just before the deadline. My British colleagues had told me that they had already applied for many games. I was just in time.

Two months later, I received an email telling that I've got fencing and judo. Most of my colleagues failed. I was just lucky.

One day, I suddenly wondered if a baby requires a ticket for children. My wife was pregnant and the baby was due in December. I looked it up on the official web site of London 2012 and was gasped. It clearly said "A child of any age requires a full price ticket." This means that we can't watch the games together. Because somebody has to take care of the baby, at least one has to wait outside the arena. The Olympic games are mean for children. Well, we have to obey if they say so.

So, when we arrived at ExCel, the venue for fencing and judo, on Tuesday, we'd already decided that I would watch the fencing game on that day, whereas my baby and wife would attend the judo games on Thursday. I watched the fencing games on my own.

On Thursday, we ate lunch and went to the security check point. I was to wait for my wife and baby at a hotel lobby. We checked our belongings carefully and finally my wife with the baby on a pushchair went to the security people. I was waving at them.

Then, a security person beckoned me. So, I said, "We've only got two tickets. I can't go inside."

To my surprise, he said, "No, you don't need a ticket for baby under 12 months."

I was puzzled. I certainly read that a baby needs one. But the man insisted. Another lady joined him and told us the same thing.

"Well, if you say so. Thank you very much!" We went through the check point together and we were in the Olympic venue together. I couldn't believe what just happened.

Not many people with small children were inside. We had to find out how to keep our pushchair during the games safely. I tried to ask a number of people. They said, "Ask other people." Eventually, 5 minutes before the start of the afternoon session of judo, at the passageway behind the seats, a lady told me, "There is no space for pushchairs. You need to fold it and bring it with you."

I found this a bit odd, because the passageway was full of empty spaces. But there was no time for argument, and I folded the pushchair and brought it up to our seats. It was so bulky that it was difficult to put it under our seats. After several minutes of struggle, I managed to put it underneath the seats. Then, we were able to watch the games in time with a baby on our lap.

We realized that if my wife and baby attended on their own, it must have been a real disaster. My wife might not able to ask what to do about the pushchair. Even if she could, there was virtually no way for her to carry the baby and pushchair up to the seats with just her two hands. So, we were lucky.

What happened to ticket policy for babies, by the way? I tried to find the description on the official web site again, but now it says babies are allowed in for free. I told this story to my colleague, when I came back to work. He clearly remembered he read it on a news article, which criticized that their policy of full price ticket requirement for all babies was nonsense.

It turned out that they changed their policy in May, in response to furious parents. But you can't easily spot this. The relevant section was really small at the end of an article.
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