Dream Italian wedding facing cancellation after Lufthansa charges $7000 for ticket for baby

A Lufthansa aircraft
Vittoria Urbinati has spent hours trying to resolve the issue without success. Photo credit: Supplied / Vittoria Urbinati

An Italian in Aotearoa is facing up to the prospect of having to cancel her marriage celebration after Lufthansa tried to charge her $7000 for a ticket home for her newborn son.

Vittoria Urbinati told Newshub she was "distraught" after spending many hours trying to sort out the issue and has been in tears at how she's been treated by the airline.

When she initially booked tickets home, Urbinati, who also has a nearly two-year-old daughter with her partner, was pregnant.

She booked in January to try and avoid sky-high prices and was reassured by the website that stated infants could be added once born.

However, with the COVID-19 pandemic ongoing, flights were cancelled. This happened seven times and each time she had to contact customer services to try and arrange new flights while looking after the two children.

Eventually she was told the cost of the flights had increased and was quoted $1277 for her son, who would sit on her lap for the flight, due to depart on August 3.

"I argued with them that it should not be up to me to absorb that cost and they offered to change dates instead to lower the cost to about $750," Urbinati told Newshub.

"They agreed to ring me back in 24 hours so that I could explore my options," she said.

Unfortunately that call never came. After a week, she rang them again and a "very helpful" customer representative told her it was a "ridiculous amount to pay for a baby" and that she would help get the fee waived.

At that point things went quiet again and she realised that the only option may be to pay the whole $1277 for the three-month-old.

"So I scrambled around to collect the amount and I tried to ring them. And ring them. And again. For two weeks I tried but each time I'd be on hold for a very long time then the call would drop, or I'd get through, nearly sort the issue and then the call would drop," she despaired.

She finally got through on the morning of Monday July 25 at which point she was told the ticket price had risen to $7000.

The representative told her there was nothing that could be done and wouldn't pass Urbinati on to a supervisor or manager.

"They simply repeated they had offered us a ticket for $1277 but it was now $7000," she said.

"They are saying that they have to make a new booking for the infant and that's what it costs for the trip.

"Usually, intercontinental flights are 10 percent of the adult fare but because of cancellations on their part they are claiming that they have to book him in a higher booking class and that the route I'm on now is more expensive.

"I'm not booking any seats, I just need the baby to travel on my lap."

Vittoria Urbinati and her family
Photo credit: Supplied / Vittoria Urbinati


The airline's website boasts about how it takes care of people flying with infants.

"When you and your baby fly with Lufthansa, you are in good hands because our special services are entirely orientated towards your wellbeing," it states.

"Children aged two or over, or who will turn two during the trip, require their own seat. In the latter case, the child fare applies to the entire trip. Please note that for safety reasons only one baby per adult is allowed on board."

A seat had already been booked for Urbinati's two-year-old alongside her mum and dad, meaning the airline's 'one baby per adult' rule was being followed.

The whole thing has been "heartbreaking", Urbinati told Newshub.

"I'm from Italy and we have planned to get married at my family home in Tavullia, Italy on the 25th of August, if we can get there.

"I have family and childhood friends there that I haven't seen in more than two years and, because it has been so hard to go home, we decided to have a celebration of our marriage there."

A big part of that is because her grandmother, who lives in England is "ageing fast" and it would mean the "world to her" to see the marriage in Italy.

"We're worried that if we don't do it this year then she won't be able to attend," she said.

"If things aren't sorted out we might need to cancel as we can't afford other options."

She has since spent hours on the phone trying to get the situation resolved and said she spent the whole morning crying as she can't find a way to resolve it.

"It would mean the world to me to bring my children home and get them to meet my dad, Nonna and the whole family.

"I'm also dreaming for my two-year-old to experience the beauty of summer in Italy like I did as a child. This isn't the first time this issue has brought me to tears."

Travelling with young children is stressful enough without the added issues, Urbinati said. That's left them with little to do but ponder cancelling even though it'll cause "heartbreak" for the whole family.

Newshub contacted Lufthansa for comment on Tuesday but hasn't heard back from the airline.