Are 'family' discounts discriminating against large families?


I don’t know how these things work elsewhere, but here in the UK you can often get ‘family’ tickets and discounts for things like train tickets, holidays, theme park entry, swimming, etc.

The only problem is, most of these ‘family’ tickets are for two adults and two children (or 3 at most), regardless of whether related.

Is that discriminatory against large families? Shouldn’t a family ticket admit an entire family, irrespective of numbers of children?


I see both sides of this. After all, the business is entitled to make a proft. But, it is rather disingenious to advertise per family then have a certain number in the fine print.

However, it is discouraging. This summer I wanted to buy a membership at the city pool. The nonresident rate was not too bad, but it only included five members of the same family. Each additional member was $30 more dollars. At that rate, it was too expensive for us.

In another example, we wanted to take a short trip and stay at a hotel with a water park. The room only included a water park pass for five members of the same family. Once, again the additional fees put it out of range for us. :frowning:


More a reflection of the dishonesty of some people making life hard for the honest folks. There are too many people who would bring along half the neighborhood claimin them as “family” in an attempt to cheat the system.


I have the same frustration planning our family vacation to Disney World. All of their affordable resorts will only allow 4 people per room, no extra kids…period. So that means we have to pay for two rooms making it completely unaffordable for us.

I know most regular hotels will allow extra children in a room, but Disney won’t. So much for “family friendly”. :frowning:


I remember the local O’Charly’s here had kids night on Tuesdays. They could eat free, but it didn’t take long large families to descend on them, and they had to cut it out.

Can’t blame it on us either (Catholics) because central Alabama only about 3% Catholic. LOL

Growing up in the 60s even in a mostly Protestant neighborhood, 3 kids were the norm, now that is looked on as a large family.


The businesses might want to re-think what they want to call their discount, but I don’t fault them for drawing a line regarding how many discounts per “family” or “group” they’d like to extend. Each business knows what it can afford to do and still pay the overhead and make a reasonable profit. It may be that they simply can’t afford to give a group of ten the same discount as a group of 5.

Since they cannot reasonably determine which children actually belong to the parents present (several could be just friends), they must have some way of limiting the group size. Otherwise, a coach could bring his whole baseball team and call it his “family,” right?


Our local zoo used to have famiy passes for the year that were very affordable for a family my size. It was cheaper to buy the pass than to pay single entries for just one visit. But when we got the pass, we had to list by name and age every family member. so it actually had, Martha, Rob, D, C, J, E, K, A on it. So they knew exactly which kids should be entering.

Two yeas ago, they changed the pass to only include two adults and 4 kids, but it still has names on it. Making it more expensive for me to get the pass and pay for extra kids than to just go once a year. We used to use our pass to go probably once a month. Now they might be saying they can’t afford it, but the ticket is usually only the beginningof the expense. We’d have lunch at their grill, the kids would all get a little something in the gift shop, they’d all buy a bit of feed for the petting zoo area… Plus membership put on on their mailing and VIP list, so we tended to go to more special events that we’re free, only discounted for members. Now we don’t get those invites and don’t attend them. Plus, we really enjoyed goign with another family or two, who would either buy a membership too or pay single admissions. Of course, they’d eat and shop and such too some of the time.

In the long run I think it costs them more to reduce their pass size. We rarely go to the local zoo for anything at all now. And the last time we went, the cost of admission was such that we didn’t spend a single dime otherwise.

This has been the case with every membership/group discount we’ve ever had - the cost of admission is usually just the beginning of the possible expense.

I don’t know if I can say it’s discrimination, but I do think it’s bad business.

A resturant would be different.


We have done the same in the past with local pool, restaurants, etc… But yes they did change to 2 adults 2 kids or at Pizza Hut it was reworded to kids eat free with each paying adult… meaning 1 kid per adult was free. I understand it but it really cramped my style when Pizza Hut was our once a week outing when I was a single mom with 3 kids! The pool actually let me list my oldest as an adult so the other 2 could be kids…in the whole 2 parent 2 kids family pack. The museum my sister had a family pass for didn’t put names on the tickets so she handed them to me to use when I was on vacation in PA… they actually let us slide with 4 kids not 2, I was surprised but happy about it. After dh and I got married, the pool passes were a set charge for 2 adults 2 kids but just $20 extra per kid. We decided to list ds1 as an adult again and just pay $20 for stepdd and dh paid when he went because he didn’t go often because of his work schedule.


when I worked for the city pools we had a family pass for up to 2 adults and their 4 children… but if your family was larger you just had to schedule a meeting with the manager of aquatics and they would work out a discount for you so you didn’t have to pay for all the extra kids seperately. I’m not sure if that’s still the policy though, I haven’t worked there in years…


I agree about the their choice to limit family size being bad for business. If I have to spend an arm and a leg to go to place, we’ll either not go or go with just some of the kids ( for instance, my little ones are enjoy the zoo, but the older kids would prefer to stay home) and spend even less. When a business is friendly to larger families, I make a point of doing business with them.

The buy one adult meal, get two kids meal, is beginning to work for us. My 15 yo gets an adult sized meal, so we can then get 6 free kids meals (DH+DS+ME=6 kids free). Since the baby just nurses, the rest of my kids get a free meal.:thumbsup:

As for hotels, we have to usually get two suites. Fire code limits how many people to a room, so we don’t balk at this. If we have to go to a hotel, we find one with perks that we know we’ll use (ie: free breafast like at Embassy suites and a kitchenette in the rooms, for the other meals.)

There are many ways large families are discouraged/discriminated, but I know business can’t always afford to give too much away. But when it comes to family memberships at things like the zoo or a museum, it should be just that: FAMILY memberships, not just partial family memberships. If grandparents can have grandparent memberships for all their grandkids, why can’t parents take all their kids?

I think the real discrimination that effects larger families is in regards to many of the new environmental rules and regulations and such. Those drive me bonkers. Why should a little itty bitty car get special parking at events when only two paying adults can fit in the car. yet a large 15 passenger van, spending less gas/person be put in parking spaces further away?? More people = more money at their event. You;d think they’d want us there. :shrug: That’s just one thing that irks me…lets not talk about trying to get car seats for all the kids the law demands to be put in car, yet they frown upon us for driving larger cars? Ugh…I could go on.

My children are my responsibility, and I do not expect freebies. I just see more and more laws and regualtions that are making it harder on families that are open to God’s gifts.

Well, that’s a bit more than :twocents::smiley:


I almost forgot! One place we lived had a public pool that had the rule only 2 kids under 5 per one adult. Since my kids were 6, 4, 2, 1 (and pg w/#5) I couldn’t take my own kids to the pool w/o DH!! We did the beach instead.


I don’t see it as discriminating. I think it’s just something large families have to accept when being open to life.

I’m for going to managers and making a case, like someone mentioned a local pool was willing to do. If the business says no, then you make other choices.

When you find family friendly businesses, by all means, spread the word and reward them!


We just bought a zoo membership and their policy for a family pass included two adults and all kids living in their household. There was no limit. And they didn’t even ask for proof or names, they just asked me how many kids. I’m thrilled though, because for $65, it gives us something inexpensive to do as a family. We pack a picnic lunch and bottled water and we can have an outing without spending a dime. And those elephants are just soooooo cool, lol!


Yep. For the most part zoos and musems are pretty good about their “family” rates.

We also were pleasantly surprised…shocked actually…at the family rate at our local martial art studio. I took my daughter in because she wanted to learn a very effective Israeli martial art (Krav Maga). I watched the initiation and thought “my wife needs to learn this as well.” I asked if they had any family discounts and it was pretty straight-forward. Once two people join, the rest of the family is free. I said, “you know there are six of us.” He just smiled and said “our largest is a family of eight…they were really happy too.” My two youngest are taking Kung Fu and my wife and two teens are taking Krav Maga. My oldest is thinking about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, as well. I travel a lot, but I can drop into Krav Maga whenever I want. Don’t mess with us. :wink: :stuck_out_tongue: :smiley:


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