Travel Leaders: Selfie Sticks, Seat Sprawl Top Travel Dilemmas

Photo by Tim Bounds via flickr
Photo by Tim Bounds via flickr

Selfie stick bans at major attractions, tourist behaving badly and “seat sprawl” on airlines have all created waves in the news media recently. Travel Leaders Group has released a new "What Would You Do?" survey with the latest on top travel dilemmas. 

Travel Leaders asked Americans how they would handle certain uncomfortable – yet fairly common – travel dilemmas such as “seat sprawl,” the “knee defender” and arm rest hogs on airplanes, as well as banned selfie sticks, tourists defacing major attractions and sightseers snapping photos where they are prohibited. The survey was conducted from April 3 to April 30 and includes responses from 3,371 consumers throughout the United States.

“With shrinking airline seat space and planes flying at full capacity, it’s not surprising over 76 percent of those polled would take some sort of action if the person in front of them reclined their seat all the way back. Yet 52.6 percent of respondents said they would not use the ‘knee defender’ given the opportunity,” said Barry Liben, CEO of Travel Leaders Group. “For three straight years, we’ve asked consumers these types of questions. We want to help identify potential scenarios and have travelers think about how they would react before they encounter these situations. We encourage travelers take action, particularly in situations where tourists are demonstrating poor behavior by damaging major artifacts or skirting rules and regulations. Travelers should know they can always go to official personnel – be it security guards or flight attendants – if they don’t want to confront someone directly.”

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Selfie Sticks

Selfie sticks are being banned at some very popular tourist attractions, such as Rome’s Colosseum, the Palace of Versailles, the Smithsonian and on Disney World rides. When asked, “If you knew it was prohibited and you saw another tourist taking photos with a selfie stick, what would you do?” the responses were:

Say something directly to the person. 8.9%
Tell a security guard or official personnel. 31.2%
Say nothing. 33.7%
Not sure. 26.2%

In turn, when asked, “If you were taking photos in a location that banned selfie sticks, what would you do?” the responses were:

I don’t own a selfie stick, so it’s not a problem. 78.5%
I’d still try to use my selfie stick and hope not to get caught. 0.5%
I’d abide by the rules and not use my selfie stick. 18.8%
Not sure. 2.3%

Banned Photos

When asked, “Have you ever taken photos at a location, destination or exhibit that strictly prohibited all photos (such as the Sistine Chapel, England’s Crown Jewels, certain Japanese temples, etc.)?” the responses were:

Yes, I secretly took a photo when no one was looking. 10.1%
No, but I really wanted to sneak a photo. 18.2%
No, I’ve never done that. 71.7%

Also, tourists have been arrested, fined, and/or deported for taking nude photos of atop a sacred mountain in Malaysia and at a temple inside Cambodia’s Angkor complex. In addition, Machu Picchu, in Peru, has dealt with nude tourism incidents. When asked, “If you were visiting a popular tourist destination and witnessed other visitors behaving badly in this manner, what would you do?”  the responses were:

Say something directly to the person. 7.2%
Tell a security guard or official personnel. 65.6%
Say nothing. 11.2%
Not sure. 16.1%

Defacing or Destroying Major Attractions

Tourists at Rome’s Colosseum were caught carving initials into the ancient site. Also, two tourists in Italy recently broke a piece off a historic statue while climbing it to take a picture.
 
When asked, “If you were at a major tourist attraction and saw another visitor damaging the attraction (by carving their initials into it, walking off-path and trampling sensitive vegetation, breaking off a piece to take home as a souvenir), what would you do? the responses were:

Say something directly to the person. 14.6%
Tell a security guard or official personnel. 72.5%
Say nothing. 4.2%
Not sure. 8.7%

Airline Etiquette: Seat Sprawl, Arm Rests, Reclining Seats

When asked, “If you are seated in the middle seat on an airplane and the people on either side of you staked out the armrests, what would you do?” the responses were:

Say something directly to your seatmates. 36.8%
Call a flight attendant and let him/her handle the situation. 7.7%
Sit quietly and say nothing. 33.3%
Not sure. 22.2%

When asked, “If you encountered ‘seat sprawl’ (where the person next to you on an airplane clearly is too large for their seat and invades what little space you have) on an airplane, what would you do?”  the responses were:

Say something directly to your seatmates. 4.5%
Call a flight attendant and let him/her handle the situation. 9.3%
Call a flight attendant and ask if you can be reseated elsewhere on the plane. 58.1%
Sit quietly and say nothing. 17.4%
Not sure. 10.7%

When asked, “If the person in the airline seat in front of you reclined their seat so much that you were unable to lower you tray table or perhaps unable to open up a laptop, what would you do?” the responses were:

Say something directly to the person. 37.9%
Call a flight attendant and let him/her handle the situation. 38.7%
Sit quietly and say nothing. 13.1%
Not sure. 10.3%

When asked, “If someone gave you a ‘knee defender’ (a newer device created so the person in the airplane seat in front of you won’t be able to recline), would you ever use it?” the responses were:

Absolutely – in fact, I have used one. 0.7%
Absolutely I would use it. 14.9%
I’d think about it, but chicken out and not use it. 11.5%
I wouldn’t use it because everyone should have the option to recline their seat. 52.6%
I don’t know. 20.3%

When asked, “If you were on a plane and realized the person behind you used the “knee defender” on your airplane seat so that you couldn’t recline, what would you do?” the responses were:

Say something directly to the person. 15.3%
Call a flight attendant and let him/her handle the situation. 43.7%
Sit quietly and say nothing. 25.0%
Not sure. 15.9%

This is the seventh consecutive year for the consumer travel survey. American consumers were engaged predominantly through social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as through direct contact with travel clients for the following Travel Leaders Group companies: Protravel International, Results! Travel, Travel Leaders, Tzell Travel Group and Vacation.com.

Visit www.travelleadersgroup.com

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