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The 9 Factors Everyone Considers When Booking a Flight

@SamShankman

Jun 17, 2014 12:30 pm

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Cost and schedule are the two factors that most poignantly impact an individual’s ability to travel and the U.S. Travel Association’s efforts to improve infrastructure will likely have too little an impact to be noticeable among everyday flyers concerned with their own travel limitations.

— Samantha Shankman

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Cost is one of the more important factors for travelers when looking to book and buy air travel, and flyers want to have a good idea of what their total cost will be long before arriving at the airport.

According to a survey of 1,031 U.S. business and leisure travelers, 92 percent of flyers find it very or somewhat important for them to be able to accurately budget the full cost of flying.

The survey was conducted on behalf of the U.S. Travel Association by ResearchNow in an effort to validate several of their policy proposals.

One of the more interesting charts ranked which factors had the most significant impact on a person’s decision of whether or not to purchase an airline ticket.

The following chart highlights cost as the primary influencer followed by flight schedule and trip length. Most travelers that book their own travel for business or leisure will likely agree.

The likelihood of delays and cancellations, especially during the winter, and loyalty status also play a significant part in the travel booking process.

Among the least influential factors are government taxes and fees, which most flyers don’t recognize as separate from the total cost, much to the airline industry’s chagrin.

Factor  Important Not Important Very Somewhat Not That Not at all
The total cost of air travel, including base fare & airline fees 92% 8% 60% 31% 7% 1%
The cost of an airline ticket (not including fees) 91% 9% 55% 36% 8% 1%
Flight schedule, including time of departure/arrival 88% 11% 49% 39% 9% 2%
Total time it takes to fly 75% 24% 33% 42% 19% 5%
Likelihood of flight delays and cancellations 72% 27% 25% 46% 23% 5%
Loyalty to a specific airline 57% 42% 19% 39% 30% 12%
The total amount of government taxes/fees on the airline ticket 53% 46% 14% 39% 37% 9%
The hassle of going through airport security 45% 54% 13% 32% 40% 14%
Rate of specific government tax/fee on the airline ticket 44% 54% 12% 32% 41% 12%

The difficult of accurately predicting the full cost of flying varies widely between individuals. About half the respondents (54%) say it is not difficult to calculate while the second half (45%) believe it is.

Although fees are among flyers’ top frustrations today, most flyers have not had to pay an airline fee that they did not anticipate prior to arriving at the airport (70%) and most have not paid a fee that they didn’t know the cost of before arriving at the airport (73%).

Read through the full findings of the U.S. Travel Association survey below:

Download (PDF, 1.09MB)

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