Friday, January 14, 2011

Traveler survey

This survey from last month is rather interesting. It was a very long survey, so I'm definitely cherry-picking here, but I have been a proponent of the idea that this will not change unless it hits the airlines where it hurts: their wallets. So, let's look at the questions that involved whether people are cutting down on air travel and why.

First: Yes, Americans are cutting down on air travel, whether for business or pleasure, but not yet in large numbers. This can be seen in that more people are cutting down on travel (28-31%) than are increasing air travel (17-26%), but most people are holding steady (42-54%). (These graphics are from the Powerpoint download provided by the US Travel Association.)

We're in a recession, airline prices are rising, and those prices include less (no food, pay for checked bags, no movies, etc...). So, it's not surprising that price is the #1 reason people give. I will note, however, that price is not exclusive of the rest of the experience: people will choose to pay more if they feel that what they are getting is worth that much more. Higher prices for fewer perks and more hassles are not going to go over well.

In that light, consider the next top reasons given for not flying as much:
  • hassle (general or security-related)
  • flight cancellations/delays (airline performance)
  • time (we can attribute this to post-TSA procedures down the line)
  • "objections to invasive security scanning" (one-quarter of respondents chose this)
  • unfriendly TSA
  • radiation from scanners
  • fear of terrorism (a little over 10% - but, from the MSM reporting on air travel in general, you might expect this to be the #1 reason to not fly)
  • carry-on inspections

By my count, the vast majority of the responses can be directly attributed to the TSA. Hey! Airlines! Wake-up! This agency is costing you business!

This next question illustrates the effect of abolishing the TSA: 50% of respondents said they would fly more often. Keep in mind that only people who have flown in the last 2 years were questioned. There is certainly a not insignificant number of people who have not flown recently and will only fly again if this "hassle" goes away.