The US Travel Association (USTA) has just released its quarterly consumer survey, and it was eye-opening and more. It offered insights into the U.S. traveler “experience and identifies barriers and points of friction that influence travel decisions.”
“These insights help anticipate and identify consumer behaviors and risks—highlighting the greatest opportunities to grow travel.” Let us know if you agree with these findings.
Recent air travelers were asked about pain points and other obstacles they encountered, starting from before even arriving at the airport, up through their in-flight experience.
According to the study, we are avoiding an average of 2 trips per year due to air travel hassles, equating to 27 million trips avoided and $71 billion in losses for the U.S. economy over the next year.
“Nearly six in 10 recent air travelers say the air travel experience is the same or worse than going to the DMV.”
Would you agree that it’s worse than DMV or something else? Here’s why there’s dissatisfaction.
Flight delays, cancellations, airport, TSA, and FAA to the top of the problems list.
Interesting to see that it isn’t being crammed into tight seating or the lack or quality of airline food that those flying to Hawaii and elsewhere are complaining about. Instead, “The top reasons they’ll avoid traveling are the likelihood of flight delays or cancellations and airport process inefficiencies.”
Ways to avoid being miserable when flying to Hawaii.
TSA PreCheck/Global Entry improves satisfaction.
USTA reported that “travelers enrolled in TSA PreCheck/Global Entry are significantly more satisfied with nearly all aspects of the travel experience.”
We use Global Entry, and we concur that it has been nothing short of a miracle in avoiding airport hassles and unexpected wait times. Only once in the past year have BOH editors encountered any issues when flying to/from Hawaii related to TSA. That was when flying from Seattle to Hawaii early this summer, where the TSA PreCheck line was over one hour long.
Suggestions from the travel study include the following:
1. Federal government must prioritize improvements across the air travel ecosystem to achieve greater growth.
2. Biometric data is improving friction points and is fast-becoming well accepted.
We encountered this recently in the new Hawaiian Airlines terminal at Honolulu Airport, which has new and high-tech TSA systems. On our last visit this summer, it was all electronic. For USA TSA PreCheck, we had photos scanned and inserted our ID into a machine. There was a person there for any issues or questions, but they were otherwise uninvolved, and it was entirely automated.
USTA commented that “Solutions exist and the majority of Americans and an even higher percentage of air travelers are willing to share biometric data if it resulted in a more seamless, secure, and efficient travel experience. Nearly six in 10 recent air travelers (59%) say as a result of advances in security technology, it is time for the government to update certain security measures.”
Two thirds of those surveyed said they are comfortable sharing this biometric data with government or private companies such as an airline. As for comfort with other aspects of biometrics, about the same percentage is comfortable using technology for aircraft boarding, touchless ticketing, and checking in for a flight.
Polling methodology used:
The poll was conducted by Ipsos, from August 11 to 20, 2023, using their probability-based KnowledgePanel®. “This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 1,408 general population adults aged 18 or older. The sample includes 469 respondents who have traveled by air in the past 3 months and 363 business travelers. The margin of error: +/- 2.8 percentage points at the 95%.”
Where do you stand on this issue?
Are you traveling less by plane in the next 12 months? One-quarter of recent air travelers (24%) are less likely to book air travel over the next year due to air travel hassles experienced. Fewer than one in five recent air travelers (17%) rate their overall experience as excellent and entirely hassle-free. Now it’s your turn to talk story.