U.S. travellers avoid 41 million flights in past year

The Travel Industry Association (TIA) of North America has released a survey revealing that deep frustration among U.S. air travellers caused them to avoid an estimated 41 million trips over the past 12 months at a cost of more than US$26 billion to the U.S. economy.Conducted by bipartisan polling firms of Peter D. Hart Research Associates and The Winston Group, the research also demonstrated that air travellers express little optimism for positive change, with nearly 50% saying that the air travel system is not likely to improve in the near future.

“The air travel crisis has hit a tipping point - more than 100,000 travellers each day are voting with their wallets by choosing to avoid trips,” said Roger Dow, President and CEO of TIA. “This landmark research should be a wake up call to America’s policy leaders that the time for meaningful air system reform is now.”

Dow noted that the 41 million avoided trips during the last 12 months rippled outward across the entire travel community costing airlines more than US$9 billion in revenue; hotels nearly US$6 billion and restaurants more than US$3 billion. In addition, federal, state and local governments lost more than US$4 billion in tax revenue because of reduced spending by travellers.

The survey found that travelers believe that the air travel system is bad and getting worse, for example: more than 60 percent believe the air travel system is deteriorating.