A groundbreaking survey recently commissioned by the Travel Industry Association (TIA) found that frustration with the air travel system is growing and is highest among those who fly the most. TIA says 28 percent of air travelers avoided at least one trip over the past year due to the problems in the air travel process, costing the economy over $26.5 billion through 41 million trips that were not taken.
"The air travel crisis has hit a tipping point—more than 100,000 travelers each day are voting with their wallets by choosing to avoid trips," said Roger Dow, president and CEO of TIA. "This landmark research should be a wake up call to America's policy leaders that the time for meaningful air system reform is now."
Dow noted that the 41 million avoided trips impacted the entire travel community costing airlines more than $9 billion in revenue; hotels nearly $6 billion and restaurants more than $3 billion. In addition, federal, state and local governments lost more than $4 billion in tax revenue because of reduced spending by travelers.
Nearly 50 percent of the 1,000-plus respondents said that the air travel system is not likely to improve in the near future. "Many travelers believe their time is not respected and it is leading them to avoid a significant number of trips," said Allan Rivlin, a partner at Peter D. Hart Research Associates, one of the research teams involved. "Inefficient security screening and flight cancellations and delays are air travelers' top frustrations."
The survey found that travelers believe that the air travel system is bad and getting worse. More than 60 percent believe the air travel system is deteriorating and one-third of all air travelers are dissatisfied with the air travel system, with 48 percent of all frequent air travelers (5+ trips per year) dissatisfied. Issues the federal government can address are travelers' top concerns: delays, cancellations and inefficient security screening. TIA will host an emergency summit of travel leaders June 17 in Washington D.C. Visit www.tia.org.