‘Tis the season of merriment, unless you’re traveling next to a loud talker or an incessant cell-phone chatterer, says a new Travelocity poll on the state of rude behavior amongst travelers. This survey of more than 1,000 travelers was conceived by Public Agenda, a nonprofit public opinion research organization which conducted a major national study of rudeness in America that was supported by the Pew Charitable Trusts.
The study shows that one of the most festive and celebrated seasons of the year, the winter holidays, can bring out some not-so-merry behavior in travelers. While 35 percent of travelers don’t think rudeness is a serious issue, the majority of travelers think it can be. However, most travelers (60 percent) are able to shrug rudeness off within a few minutes. With this survey in mind, Travelocity is sharing ways to make the holiday journey a merrier experience through education and some helpful hints.
Unfortunately, travel is considered always stressful by many (29 percent), while the survey showed that an equally large group (28 percent) feels that travel during the holidays is the most stressful travel time of the year, even above business trips and summer vacations. Airports around the country work to counter this anxiety by offering special holiday programs, such as local musicians and gift-givers for kids. Major airports such as LaGuardia, Chicago Midway, Atlanta, and Dallas/Fort Worth are among them.
According to the survey, one third of respondents feel rude travelers and travel personnel are the factors that most negatively impact their trip. “Contrary to popular opinion, our study shows that travel is more of a stressor at holiday time than spending time with relatives,” said Travelocity editor-at-large, Amy Ziff. “Compare a 28 percent response rate for those who say travel is the most stressful to the 10 percent who cited family.”
What bothers people most? It isn’t the much talked about food on-board, although respondents do find fish, ethnic food, items with garlic and fast food to be amongst the most bothersome items brought on board. Instead, respondents vote that uncontrolled children as well as fellow passengers who kick the seat-back in front of them are the most aggravating.
The survey results were accumulated in Nov. 2003 and consisted of responses from more than 1,000 Travelocity members. Complete results can be found at www.travelocity.com/rudenesspoll .
“It’s important that we all take time to examine our own actions to see if there are things we can do to help modify or eliminate rude behavior on the road,” said Ziff.
“Changing negative behaviors in general is perhaps more important than ever, as travelers wield a lot of buying power and can assert their preferences by voting with their wallets and showing what they like and dislike. In fact, our survey shows that after encountering rudeness by company personnel, half of those polled said they stopped conducting business with that provider again,” said Ziff.