J.D. Power and Associates and Yahoo! report that nearly two-thirds of airline passengers are “already comfortable” with flying again.
Only 3 percent of flyers feel that they will “never” be at ease with the air travel experience. The study was designed by J.D. Power and Associates and was conducted with Yahoo! Inc. More than 2,200 adults were surveyed about recent air travel experiences and future air travel intent.
“Nearly one in five air travellers are still `undecided` about whether or not they will feel safe travelling on a commercial jet,” said Michael Taylor, director of travel services at J.D. Power and Associates. “But these are positive numbers considering that this survey was conducted less than five weeks after the September 11 disasters. This report illustrates the faith consumers have that air travel will once again be considered safe.” However, 72 percent of flyers feel that air travel “has changed forever.” The survey went on to ask respondents their perceptions about current safety procedures on aircraft and in airports as well as possible security measures that could be implemented.
An overwhelming 83 percent of flyers indicated that they did not mind a longer check-in process at airports, as long as it increased the safety and security of the traveler. More than one-half of airline passengers are willing to pay “a security tax” on each ticket to provide increased security. “A lingering fear of air travel was the most often cited reason for the public`s reduced travel habits,” said Taylor. “However, business travellers cited a slowing economy as another leading reason for a slowdown in business travel. Leisure travelers listed `wanting to stay closer to home` as another important factor.”
Among current in-flight security measures, respondents rated in-flight armed air marshals and armor-reinforced cockpit doors as equally important. Arming cockpit crews and a ban on silverware in the cabin were reported as much less helpful in re-establishing consumer confidence in air travel. At the airport, a search of all carry-on luggage would inspire the most confidence in travelers in addition to existing security measures at airports. The presence of armed law enforcement officers at the airport ranked a close second. The ban on cutlery at airport restaurants is not perceived to be very helpful, according to survey respondents.
“To increase public confidence in safety at the airport, travellers believe that new technologies could be applied quite effectively,” said Taylor. “High-technology X-ray and scanning, along with electronic bomb-sniffing equipment, were cited most by respondents. These items were considered even more effective than Federal control of the airport security process.”
This public opinion poll was conducted among random visitors to Yahoo`s Web site during the week of October 10. More than 1,300 respondents reported having air travel experiences within the past three months.