New Study Shows What Frequent Flyers Value in an Airline

Passengers value personal space above all.

By Paul Riegler on 11 July 2018
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Today’s passengers value seat comfort above anything else, in a time when even top airlines are cutting back on legroom and personal space on aircraft, according to a new study of frequent travelers.

The GlobeRunner Insights Air Travel 2018 study also found that, despite the promise, in-flight Wi-Fi was deemed one of the least important of the criteria when choosing an airline or flight.

“Frequent flyers continue to value personal space and comfort above all other considerations,” said Jonathan Spira, who heads up the GlobeRunner Insights research group, which conducted the study. (GlobeRunner Insights is owned by Accura Media Group, as is Frequent Business Traveler magazine.) “Travelers also want ‘value’ for what they spend, something made clear by its ranking as the number two consideration.”

Out of the top ten considerations for travelers when choosing a flight and an airline, value, a carrier’s frequent flyer program, customer service, and safety record, rounded out the top five, mirroring the 2017 study results.

In-flight Wi-Fi came in at number nine in the survey, ahead of in-flight entertainment. In 2017, in-flight Wi-Fi was in the number ten position.

Travelers held elite status benefits, the in-flight service, including meals and snacks, and alliance and codeshare partnerships as more important than Internet access at 35,000 feet.

Once again, Alaska Airlines, which merged with Virgin America in 2016, ranked highest among traditional (i.e. non low-cost carriers) in “overall satisfaction” with a 4.6 out of 5 rating, followed by Delta Air Lines, which scored 4.1.

Meanwhile, Southwest Airlines and JetBlue were once again tied for the top rating among low-cost carriers in “overall satisfaction” with a 4.1 out of 5 rating.

The Frequent Business Traveler GlobeRunner Insights AirTravel2018 U.S. Airlines customer satisfaction survey, now in its third year, measures passenger satisfaction with U.S. airlines among frequent travelers.

Results for this GlobeRunner Insights survey are based on an online survey conducted between January 2, 2018 and March 30, 2018, with a random sample of 6,001 adults who have taken three or more flights over the past 12 months. Of that group, 63% reside in the United States, 10.1% in the United Kingdom, 4.9% in Canada, and 3% in Germany. Forty-nine of the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia are represented.

(Photos: Accura Media Group)

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