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Travelocity Survey Says Today’s Travelers May Be Pushing the Limits on Civility

Relying on the kindness of strangers may be a thing of the past, at least when you’re on the road, as up to 40 percent of travelers feel it’s unnecessary to oblige when asked by a fellow passenger to switch seats, according to a Travelocity survey. Furthermore, the poll found that a large group of travelers may themselves be the culprits of sporting what many consider “rude” behaviors such as excessive cell phone usage or those who fully recline their seats in flight.Why does this matter? According to Travelocity’s first survey conducted in December 2003 with public opinion research organization Public Agenda, the majority considered rudeness a serious issue in travel, and travel was considered always stressful by nearly 30 percent of participants. Often times, fellow travelers were considered the ones to blame for high stress levels. As a follow-up to Travelocity’s study released last December, Travelocity delved more deeply into traveler behaviors and found that chivalry often takes the back seat.

“Travelocity is committed to making life on the road better and we can all play a part in that,” says Amy Ziff, Travelocity editor-at-large. “Important first steps include being aware of your surroundings, knowing how your actions may be perceived and avoiding rude behaviors when on the road. Whether it’s by yielding passage or keeping cellular usage to a minimum, you can make a difference.”

The latest poll conducted in March 2004 consisted of responses from approximately 1,300 Travelocity members to obtain information about travelers’ attitudes with regard to specific behavior while traveling.

  Key survey results included:

  — When asked by a fellow airplane passenger to switch seats on a plane:
      — 42 percent feel no obligation at all to oblige

      — Nearly 5 percent consider it rude to even be asked

  — When asked to describe their mobile phone usage, nearly 20 percent of
      respondents reported using their phones “frequently, as long as the
      airline permitted it” or “until a flight attendant asked them to turn
      it off.”

  — Nearly 10 percent felt that it was unnecessary to try to even keep
      their voices down, keep calls to a minimum or end their phone calls
      if it seemed to bother those around them.

  — Thirty-two percent of those surveyed reported reclining their
      airplane seats all the way either “frequently” or “all the time.”

According to Ziff, some travelers are even taking defensive actions. With the release of the somewhat controversial knee-defender device now on the market, travelers are able to prevent those in front of them from reclining at all.


“It’s interesting to know that common courtesy toward your fellow travelers can have such an impact on the overall travel experience and that some are oblivious to the effects of their behaviors in transit,” said Ziff.

Following are some quick tips from Ziff that can help make the journey better for travelers and those around them. For more travel tips, trends and data, visit

  — Limit cell phone usage, and remember you are in a public space.  So,
      try to keep your voice down when you use it.

  — Space is limited when you’re on the road, so try to keep belongings
      within your own limits.  And, remember to pack light to avoid using
      others’ designated space.

  — Learn the rules at the airports in advance so you can move through
      security with ease and avoid slowing down fellow travelers if