As the economy tanks, are people becoming less frustrated by travel?

Written by admin on October 13, 2008 – 1:28 pm -

Americans are concerned about overall higher travel costs, including ones associated with airline, hotel rooms, cruise line and train tickets, according to a recent survey.

The study, conducted by insurance company Access America, tracked travel costs, safety and service.

On the plus side, in spite of the increasing concern over costs, travelers are slightly more resigned to the hassles associated with air travel.

Is there a silver lining to this scenario? Mark Cipolletti, vice president of Access America suggests there might be.

The good news for the travel industry is that lower frustration levels in other categories, airline travel in particular, are moderating the spike in concerns over travel and lodging costs. While the trend line in overall frustrations is encouraging, it’s small comfort in the knowledge that more than one out of every two Americans is frustrated with various aspects of travel.

Results of the aggregated index over the past five quarters follows:

Topping the list of frustrations is the cost of gas (86 percent), followed by the cost of airline, cruise or train tickets (55%), airline/airport service (49 percent) and the cost of lodging and/or other attractions (49 percent).

Many Americans report feeling frustrated when it comes to “illness or injury” which causes a cancellation (37 percent), homeland security/safety (37 percent), labor actions (33 percent), “the weather” (28 percent), service by other travel suppliers (27 percent) and difficulty booking trips (21 percent).

When asked an open-ended question about the most frustrating aspect of travel in the last couple of months, one in three (31 percent) cited gas prices, while others report being most frustrated by issues related to traffic (18 percent), delays/timing (6 percent), airport/airline (6 percent) and security (4 percent).

The index also allows for comparisons among various demographic groups. For example, leisure travelers (55.2 percent) are more frustrated than are business travelers (52.9 percent). Women (57 percent) are significantly more frustrated with traveling than are men (53.2 percent) on the whole.

Other specific findings of note:

• Women (61 percent) are considerably more likely than men (50 percent) to be frustrated with the cost of airline, cruise or train tickets. Similarly, women (26 percent) are more likely than men (17 percent) to be frustrated with difficulty booking their trip.

• Younger Americans (52 percent), aged 18 to 34, and middle-aged Americans (52 percent), aged 35 to 54, are more likely than older Americans (42 percent), aged 55+, to be frustrated with the cost of lodging and/or attractions. Younger Americans (60 percent) are also more likely than their older counterparts (53 percent) to be frustrated with the cost of airline, cruise and train tickets. Older individuals (40 percent) are more likely than younger ones (35 percent) to be frustrated with homeland security. Booking trips also causes more older people (26 percent) grief than younger Americans (19 percent).

• Interestingly, few regional differences exist. However, those living in the Northeast (33 percent) are more likely than those in the South (29 percent), West (28 percent), and the Midwest (22 percent) to be frustrated by the weather while traveling.

Karen Fawcett is president of Bonjour Paris.

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