In a survey of first and business class international travelers conducted by FirstAir.Net
70 percent of travelers said they are traveling less than they were a year ago but 55 percent said they anticipate traveling more next year than they have in the previous year. Eighty percent said they thought that family and friends were traveling less than a year ago but only 25 percent said they personally had curtailed international travel in the last year. Seventy-five percent of travelers said they are going to postpone trips around September 11.
In addition, 65 percent of travelers said they are more concerned about airline security than a year ago; 60 percent said they had become less concerned in the last six months than in the first six months after 9/11. Sixty-five percent said they have resumed normal travel patterns over the last year.
Twenty-eight percent of travelers said they had little or no trust in U.S. airport security; 61 percent said their level of trust was moderate, while 11 percent expressed great trust in U.S. airport security. Only 15 percent of travelers polled said they avoid certain airlines due to security concerns and only 20 percent of travelers said they take security precautions they did not take a year ago.
“Our survey shows that Americans remain very security conscious and that full trust remains to be restored in the handling of security at U.S. airlines,” said FirstAir.Net President Robert Laney. “At the same time, while Americans are still traveling less than a year ago, as security concerns abate, they expect to travel more in the future. And they have significant economic issues with the high costs of travel.” Ninety-five percent of travelers said they personally have been subject to additional random security searches in the last year, the FirstAir.Net survey said. But only 5 percent felt that they personally had been targeted for security reasons on multiple flights or trips. Upon arriving back in the U.S., 71 percent felt security procedures were about the same, while 29 percent said security procedures upon reentry seemed more stringent.
Twenty-seven percent felt that random searches were not very effective or were poor as a security measure. Fifty-two percent said random searches were somewhat effective. Travelers were evenly split on whether pilots should be armed in the *censored*pit, with 50 percent saying yes and 50 percent saying no.
Likewise, 50 percent of travelers said they are sometimes suspicious of other travelers and 50 percent said they were not. But 75 percent of those polled said there should be more specific, targeted profiling of fellow travelers for security reasons. And 60 percent of travelers said they do not take advantage of State Department or other travel advisories.
With respect to consumer preferences, 85 percent of first and business class international travelers said scheduling was their most important consideration in selecting an airline; 75 percent said their experience with seat pitch was important; 65 percent said the mileage program was an important factor; 40 percent said it was important that safety procedures were read on board; while only 35 percent said other in-flight amenities were a factor.
Among amenities, 65 percent said an in-flight phone was important; while 50 percent said that meal selection and availability of a shower were factors in their selection of first or business class internationally. Eight-five percent said that possible price savings was a factor in making their first or business class selection and 75 percent said they were now making airline travel selections on line.
Ninety-five percent of travelers do not believe that a benefit of traveling first class is reduced times checking in for international flights. Only six percent of travelers check in two hours before a flight, and 18 percent check in 90 minutes before a flight. Thirty-two percent check in 60-75 minutes prior to scheduled departure, and 28 percent check in between 45 and 60 minutes ahead of time.
Americans typically pay 30 percent more than other international travelers for first-class and business seats, and yet 40 percent of business-class seats and 65 percent of first-class seats go unsold, according to FirstAir.Net data. FirstAir.Net helps international first and business class travelers achieve savings of from 30 percent to 60 percent.