If you believe a study commissioned by a trade group representing six of the nation’s largest airlines — all of the nation’s non-ultra low-cost carriers except Delta Air Lines — most U.S. consumers are at least content with their travel experiences.
According to a poll of more than 5,000 adults conducted in January by Ipsos, a global polling firm, 43 percent of Americans said they were “very satisfied” with their overall airline experience, up eight percentage points from the last survey, taken in late 2015. Another 42 percent reported they were “somewhat satisfied,” off two percentage points from the previous poll.
On the lower end, the numbers stayed consistent from 2015, according to Airlines for America, the trade group that commissioned the poll. Roughly five percent of Americans were “somewhat dissatisfied” with air travel, and one percent said they were “very dissatisfied.”
Airlines for America found price is the most important factor for both business travelers and leisure customers. Next came the convenience of an airline’s schedule, followed by on-time reliability and seat comfort. Travelers were least concerned with frequent flyer program benefits and an airline’s environmental responsibility program, the poll found.
Airlines for America reported that millennials tend to be the happiest customers, with 90.1 percent of respondents between the ages of 18 and 34 saying there were satisfied with the air travel. Meanwhile, 81.3 percent of customers older than 55 said they were satisfied.
Though U.S. airlines often cater to business travelers, who buy more expensive tickets, often at the last minute, the majority of travelers fly for leisure, according to Airlines for America. The poll found 69 percent of all trips are taken for non-business reasons, a figure unchanged from 2015. (As recently as 1993, only about half of all trips were leisure-related, the trade group said.)
Airlines for America also asked travelers their opinion on whether the government should privatize the nation’s air traffic control system. The trade group argues the government should transfer control to an independent non-profit entity, but this likely is not a topic many travelers understand. Still, after being asked a leading question that called the proposal an “effective way to modernize the air traffic control system,” roughly eight in 10 Americans said they supported Airlines for America’s stance.