NEWTON, Mass., April 25, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- TripAdvisor®, the world's largest travel site*, today announced the results of its annual air travel survey of more than 1,000 U.S. respondents. Americans are flocking to the skies this year as 91 percent of respondents said they plan to fly domestically in 2012, compared to 84 percent that did last year. International flights are also on the rise, with 65 percent planning a flight out of the country, up from 55 percent in 2011.
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Mobile Use Takes Off
There has been a significant increase in mobile device usage for air travel among survey respondents.
- Nearly half of all fliers now use a smart phone to check flight status, up from 30 percent from last year's survey.
- 30 percent report using a device to check-in to a flight, up from 17 percent.
- Use of tablets and iPads in-flight are up 15 percent, with more than one in four travelers now calling theirs a carry-on essential.
Fliers seem skeptical about the need to shut off their beloved mobile devices.
- 58 percent question whether shutting off electronic devices during takeoff and landing is really necessary.
- 40 percent can remember a time when they've left their devices on during flight (accidentally or intentionally).
Shh… Anti-social in the Air
When it comes to flying, the majority of travelers have no interest in socializing.
- 76 percent of travelers prefer to keep to themselves while in-flight.
- Only 9 percent expressed interest in trying a "social seating" program that allows fliers to choose a seatmate based on social network profiles.
- 40 percent would pay extra to sit in a designated "quiet" section of the plane.
Not even a presidential candidate could get some fliers to come out of their shell: 33 percent would not choose to sit next to Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, or Newt Gingrich, if given the opportunity.
Calling for More Comfort
Twenty-two percent of survey participants don't enjoy a single thing about air travel, and most travelers cite legroom and seat comfort (or lack thereof) as their biggest complaint.
- 41 percent believe that more legroom is the biggest improvement airlines can make, with 30 percent citing more comfortable seating. However, 71 percent aren't willing to pay for extra legroom on domestic flights less than four hours long.
- On flights longer than four hours, however, 35 percent would shell out $25 for more legroom.
Frequent Flier Favorites
Travelers like their frequent flier programs and, when it comes to booking, brand does matter.
- 52 percent subscribe to frequent flier programs and find them valuable.
- 58 percent say the brand of airline is important when considering which flight to book.
- 15 percent say that racking up frequent flier miles is the most enjoyable thing about air travel.
- Of the 20 percent of fliers who order an alcoholic drink on-board, 42 percent favor wine.
- Singapore Airlines tops most people's wish lists, with 17 percent saying they haven't yet flown with this global carrier but would like to.
Top 5 Favorite U.S. Airports:
- Orlando International Airport, Florida
- Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Georgia
- Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Texas
- San Francisco International Airport, California
- Charlotte Douglas International Airport, North Carolina
Additional Air Travel Tidbits
- More than half plan to participate in TSA's pre-check program.
- The three most popular months for air travel this year are May, October, and September.
- 27 percent would choose one airline over another if the flight offered Wi-Fi.
- 45 percent are concerned that rising gas prices will cause air fares to increase, so they plan to book travel plans early.
- 43 percent consider airplanes to be the most germ-laden travel location, more so than hotel rooms and public transportation.
"As air travel becomes more stressful, fliers flock to mobile technology," says Bryan Saltzburg, general manager of TripAdvisor Flights. "In-flight Wi-Fi, powerful new mobile devices, and other tech carry-on essentials allow fliers to create a more relaxing and enjoyable flying experience."
TripAdvisor® is the world's largest travel site, enabling travelers to plan and have the perfect trip. TripAdvisor offers trusted advice from real travelers and a wide variety of travel choices and planning features with seamless links to booking tools. TripAdvisor-branded sites make up the largest travel community in the world, with more than 50 million unique monthly visitors*, and over 60 million reviews and opinions. The sites operate in 30 countries worldwide, including China under daodao.com. TripAdvisor also includes TripAdvisor for Business, a dedicated division that provides the tourism industry access to TripAdvisor's millions of monthly visitors.
TripAdvisor, Inc. (NASDAQ: TRIP) manages and operates websites under 19 other travel media brands, and together the sites attract more than 69 million unique monthly visitors**. TripAdvisor's travel media brands include www.airfarewatchdog.com, www.bookingbuddy.com, www.cruisecritic.com, www.everytrail.com, www.familyvacationcritic.com, www.flipkey.com, www.holidaylettings.co.uk, www.holidaywatchdog.com, www.independenttraveler.com, www.onetime.com, www.seatguru.com, www.sniqueaway.com, www.smartertravel.com, www.tingo.com, www.travel-library.com, www.travelpod.com, www.virtualtourist.com, www.whereivebeen.com, and www.kuxun.cn.
*Source: comScore Media Metrix for TripAdvisor Sites, Worldwide, January 2012
**Source: comScore Media Metrix for TripAdvisor Inc. and its subsidiaries, Worldwide, January 2012
©2012 TripAdvisor, Inc. All rights reserved.