Those who regularly flew before 9/11 recognize how much more painful airline travel has become, starting from dropping off or even parking. It seems as if the needs of the customer have become irrelevant. This is the first survey that mimics many of my own thoughts on the airline industry- the reason they're struggling is far more complicated than just rising fuel prices.
Air Travelers Avoided 41 Million Trips
According to the Travel Industry Association (TIA), 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 U.S. economy.
The study, conducted by the polling firms of Peter D. Hart Research Associates and The Winston Group, demonstrated that air travelers express little optimism for positive change, with nearly 50 percent saying that the air travel system is not likely to improve in the near future.
Roger Dow, President and CEO of TIA, said "... more than 100,000 travelers each day are voting with their wallets by choosing to avoid trips."
Dow noted that the 41 million avoided trips during the last 12 months rippled outward across the entire travel community:
Costing airlines more than $9 billion in revenue
Hotels nearly $6 billion
Restaurants more than $3 billion
Federal, state and local governments lost more than $4 billion in tax revenue
Additional findings of the study:
28% of air travelers avoided at least one trip over the past year (2.1 trips on average) due to the problems in the air travel process.
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.
Travelers tend to appreciate the convenience and safety of air travel, but at least as many passengers say air travel is frustrating.
Allan Rivlin, a partner at Peter D. Hart Research Associates, said "...Inefficient security screening and flight cancellations and delays are air travelers' top frustrations."