Deep frustration among air travelers caused them to avoid an estimated 41 million trips over the past 12 months at a cost of more than $26 billion to the US economy, according to a Travel Industry Association (TIA) survey.
Moreover, air travelers express little optimism for positive change, with nearly 50% saying the air travel system is not likely to improve in the near future.
“The air travel crisis has hit a tipping point – more than 100,000 travelers each day are voting with their wallets by choosing to avoid trips,” said Roger Dow, President and CEO of TIA.
Dow noted that the 41 million avoided trips cost airlines more than $9 billion in revenue, hotels nearly $6 billion, and restaurants more than $3 billion; also, federal, state and local governments lost more than $4 billion in tax revenue because of reduced spending by travelers, he said.
Among the key findings of the study:
- 28% of air travelers avoided at least one trip over the past year (2.1 on average) due to the problems in the air travel process.
- Travelers tend to appreciate the convenience (40%) and safety (32%) of air travel, but at least as many passengers say air travel is frustrating (40%):
- Over the past 12 months, approximately 112,000 trips were avoided per day – a total of?12 million business trips and 29 million leisure trips.
- More than 60% believe the air travel system is deteriorating.
- 33% of all air travelers are dissatisfied with the air travel system, and 48% of frequent air travelers (5+ trips per year) are dissatisfied.
- 39% of all air travelers feel their time is not respected in the air travel process, and among frequent air travelers that number surges to 51%.
- Nearly 50% of all air travelers do not think it is likely that the air travel system will be improved in the near future.
“With rising fuel prices already weighing heavily on American pocketbooks, we need to find ways to encourage Americans to continue their business and leisure travel. Unfortunately, just the opposite appears to be happening,” said Dow.
About the study: The survey of 1,003 air travelers (adults who had taken at least one roundtrip by air in the last 12 months) was conducted between May 6 and May 13, 2008 by bipartisan polling firms Peter D. Hart Research Associates and The Winston Group.