Two-thirds (66%) of Americans are concerned about high costs when planning air travel – including ticket prices and baggage fees, and more than half are also concerned about delays (56%) and the possibility of terrorism (53%), according to a national survey conducted by Ipsos on behalf of Access America.
Other issues, such as baggage loss and delay, on-board comfort and having fewer flights to choose from,? were less important to consumers.
The survey found that middle-aged Americans have more concern about flying overall than their older or younger counterparts, and women are significantly more concerned than men about most aspects of flying:
- Women (70%) are more likely than men (57%) to be concerned with costs, including ticket prices, baggage fees, and related fees.
- Women (58%) have a higher propensity than men (51%) to be concerned with delays resulting in missed connections and lost vacation time.
- Women (61%) are much more likely than men (47%) to be concerned about terrorism.
- Women (56%) are more likely than men (49%) to be concerned with baggage issues, including loss and delay.
- 45% of women, vs. 39% of men are more inclined to be worry about fewer flights to choose from and the onboard comfort and amenities that airlines are currently offering.
- Women (45%) are also more likely than men (36%) to be concerned about airline bankruptcies.
The survey also found that nearly one half (47%) of polled Americans say they plan on traveling within the next three months, and 36% plan to travel by plane. In terms of the purpose for traveling, 76% of Americans say they primarily travel for leisure, and only 13% travel for business.
Despite high levels of concern about air travel and the high percentages of those traveling for leisure, only one in 10 (12%) soon-to-be travelers are considering the purchase of travel insurance for their next upcoming trip.
This, according to Access America, could leave travelers susceptible to unexpected costs, since one in 10 (11%) Americans say they have had to unexpectedly cancel their travel plans in the last year. Among those that have had to cancel, leading causes include illness (25%), family issues and emergencies (23%), financial concerns (21%), having to work (20%), and inclement weather (9%).
“The results of this study reflect the high level of anxiety Americans are currently experiencing when planning travel,” said Mark Cipolletti, VP at Access America. “Nevertheless, it is likely that many Americans will continue to travel, whether for leisure or business, and so the question becomes how to best manage travel plans and the likelihood of delays, lost baggage and other inconveniences.”
About the survey: The telephone survey was conducted by Ipsos, August 11-18, 2008, among a nationally representative sample of 2,006 Americans. The data were weighted to ensure the sample’s regional and age/gender composition reflects that of the actual US population according to data from the US Census Bureau. The survey asked respondents to rate their level of concern about seven issues related to planning air travel: cost, delays, concerns about terrorism, baggage issues (loss, delay, etc.), number of flights to choose from, on-board comfort/amenities and the possibility of airline bankruptcy.