Stats: Air Travelers Contribute $400.5 Billion to Economy

family at airport
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Air travelers create an economic of $400.5 billion, according to new research from HSBC. In a recent market research study, HSBC looked at a selection of recent travelers to find insights about the 11.9 million people flying around the world each day and reimagined them as a country in the sky. Named "Flyland," this is the 25th largest economy in the world, according to the report, and a study of its economics and demographics paints a telling picture of modern global citizens.

The typical citizen of Flyland takes an average of four-and-a-half flights each year, spending 30 hours in the air. Some of the most interesting things HSBC learned about the citizens of Flyland were how they make connections in the air.

Love and Friendship in the Air

Flyland is a place that fosters human connection. The survey shows that two couples meet and fall in love on the average flight. With nearly 107,000 flights a day, there are plenty of opportunities to meet your perfect match.


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And it's not just romantic relationships that are created at 30,000 feet. Almost half (47 percent) of air travelers have started a conversation with the stranger next to them; 12 percent have made a lasting friendship on a flight; and 13 percent have made a strong business connection.

The Benefits of Travel

The people of Flyland are overwhelmingly positive about the benefits of travel, with the research finding that travel really does broaden the mind. More than eight in 10 air travelers (83 percent) believe they now understand the world better; with 67 percent claiming to be more tolerant; and 63 percent more patient as a result of travel.

And there are personal benefits, too, with feeling more independent (77 percent) and more confident (73 percent) topping the list.

Etiquette Flies

Like any country, Flyland has its share of social expectations and annoyances. Specifically, Americans of Flyland said letting children kick their seat (65 percent) is the biggest taboo; followed by letting children run riot (59 percent); being rude to flight attendants (56 percent); while taking smelly shoes off (45 percent) and hogging the armrest is just as big a concern as people who drink too much (44 percent).

And like on earth, over-exuberant behaviors can be frowned upon: 15 percent of the Americans in Flyland are bothered by passengers who cheer when the plane lands.

Buy in the Sky

The vacation often starts at the airport. Americans spend an average of $51.32 per flight. This includes paying for on-board Wi-Fi ($4.92), food ($11.68), drinks ($4.56), alcoholic drinks ($4.76) and duty free ($32.53), amongst other items. Most air travelers pay for onboard items using cards (72 percent) rather than cash, with Flyland following a growing global trend towards a cashless society.

Source: HSBC

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