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British Airways Finds 7 Common Emotions Travelers Feel During Flights


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The levels of these emotions will change depending on the flyer and frequent business flyers, in particular, are immune to certain aspects of flight that become more tiring than invigorating over time.

— Samantha Shankman

The average flyer’s emotions go from control to indulgence between the time they arrive at the airport to the time they touchdown in their destination, a new British Airways study states.

In an effort to better cater to customers, British Airways commissioned UK market research company Ipsos MORI to conduct a study on flyers’ emotions. The study identifies the seven emotional phases of flying as control, empowerment, security, belonging, enjoyment, conviviality, and vitality.

“Most travelers feel the need to start in control, often exhibiting behaviors such as ticking off check-lists and fibbing to partners by telling them the flight leaves earlier than it really does in order to get to the airport in plenty of time,” a research brief explains.

Control is the main emotion flyers feel as they move from check-in through security to the gate where they organize their belongings making sure they’ll have what they need from the overhead bin.

The empowerment phase kicks in whenever travelers choose a specific seat or employ hacks for getting to the gate faster.

Once onboard, feelings of security and belonging arise as flyers settle in and routine safety announcements are made.

According to the study, flyers start to relax after takeoff and often indulge in sweet treats, extra alcoholic drinks, and movie marathons ‘because they can’. Feelings of enjoyment and friendliness are amplified when flyers travel in a group and can share the experiences together.

Fueled by excitement, feelings of vitality, described as the desire to experience something new, are found to be felt throughout the journey.

The findings are based on more than 900 hours of research including focus groups and interviews with more than 2,600 people that had flown British Airways at least once in the past 12 months.

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