- First of all, it seems that for all the hysteria, people are just not pissed off just yet. "Looking at all Americans who have taken at least one air trip in the past 12 months, two-thirds (66%) are satisfied with 'the entire air travel system of airports and airlines including security, boarding, the in-flight experience, and baggage' and one-third is dissatisfied" (from the findings document). Only one third are dissatisfied? Well, when we get to two thirds or more, call me.
- Of course, it is the frequent travelers who are most vocal. "Again, the more often someone travels by air, the more likely they are to find fault with the air travel system, and for travelers who fly more than three times per year, the negative outweighs the positive, as 'frustrating' tops the list of descriptors." What I wonder is if any of these studies would take into account people who pretty much gave up on air travel. In other words, not the customers they could lose, but the ones they already lost that they are making no effort to get back.
- And by the way, it is the air travel. Other elements of the travel process such as renting a car or getting the hotel are usually fine. "Compared with other parts of the travel experience including renting cars, staying at a motel, hotel, or resort, and eating meals away from home, the air travel experience is the least pleasant part of taking a trip. A 56% majority of travelers say that getting through the airports and flying to and from their destination is a bad part (40%) or the worst part of travel (16%)."
- The economic impact: "Travel hassles, long lines, flight delays, and cancellations caused 41 million trips not to be taken last year, including 29 million leisure trips and 12 million business trips. This is a total cost to the travel industry of $26.5 billion: $9.4 billion to airlines, $5.6 billion to hotels, $3.1 billion to restaurants and $4.2 billion in federal, state and local tax revenue." I don't think it has had enough of an impact yet. If it had a larger impact, rest assured that the lobbyists for restaurants, hotels, chambers of commerce, tourism organizations, and so on would be yelling at Congress to finally do something to demand the airlines get their act together. Money usually speaks loudly, but it seems it is not talking loudly enough yet. I say give it some time, lose a few billion more dollars in restaurants, hotels, amusement parks, travel destinations, and so on, and maybe then something will finally happen.
- Now some of you may think I am being too pessimistic. Well, according to the study, I would not be alone in my pessimism: "Despite recognizing that the air travel system needs significant improvements, travelers are not confident that the airlines, airports, and the federal government will make the needed changes in the next few years."
A hat tip to Docuticker.