Friday, April 22, 2011

Tripadvisor: Travellers continue to fly in 2011 despite rising fares

TripAdvisor, today announced the results of its third annual air travel survey of more than 2,000 U.S. respondents. Ninety-two percent of travelers said they plan to fly this year, and 47 percent said they have already taken a flight in 2011, suggesting that rising airfares have not had a significant impact on air travel. Ninety-one percent of respondents said they flew in 2010.

Rising Airfare Effect
While the vast majority of respondents plan to fly in 2011, 43 percent of travelers said they’ve found they’ve had to book connecting flights to stay within their flight budget. Thirty-three percent said they are planning to drive for one or more of their trips in 2011 when they previously would have flown, as a result of rising airfares.

“Fee’d” Up with Airline Charges
Forty-six percent of travelers think checked baggage fees are the most annoying fee airlines now charge, followed by 24 percent for seat selection fees and 18 percent for carry-on baggage fees. Seventy-two percent of respondents expect the overall cost of airline fees to rise during the remainder of the year. Travelers expect priority seating fees (49 percent), carry-on baggage fees (46 percent) and seat selection fees (41 percent) to either be added or expanded by some airlines in 2011.

Carry On Carrying On
With increasing airline fees for checked luggage, 56 percent of travelers said they regularly carry on their bags to avoid additional fees. Additionally, 52 percent said they are more likely to pack only carry-on bags when they fly this year due to rising checked baggage fees.

Flyers Beg for Leg Space
Uncomfortable seats and limited legroom topped the list of traveler gripes about air travel, with 26 percent of respondents saying it was their biggest complaint. This was followed by the 23 percent who said airline fees and the 17 percent who cited rising airfares. When asked what one thing airlines should do to make the in-flight experience better, the vast majority – 43 percent—cited more legroom.

This Food Just Doesn’t Fly
When asked to grade airline food on a scale of one to ten, travelers rated it an average of five. Fifty-one percent of respondents said they thought airline food has gotten worse over the past five years, while only 12 percent said they thought it has gotten better. Perhaps as a result, 42 percent of respondents said they typically bring food from home for the flight and 38 percent purchase food from the airport, while only seven percent said they purchase food on the plane.

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