According to the latest survey from TripAdvisor, more Americans plan to fly somewhere in the U.S. this year – 91% compared to just 86% in 2012. A similar jump is seen for those with aspirations to travel internationally, up from 56% to 67%. But during those flights, there will be complaints.
More Flying, but Plenty of Complaints
Chief among all complaints by the survey’s 2,000 respondents: uncomfortable seats. And more than a third of those surveyed said the number one thing airlines could do to improve the in-flight experience was improve the seats. How? By making them roomier. By providing more legroom. For free (or close to that).
Thumbs Down on Legroom Fees
Paying for a better seat assignment? 44% said they’ve never done that. And those who will pay for more comfort, won’t pay much – only $25 on a domestic flight or $50 on a flight to Europe – and some airlines charge significantly more for their premium economy seating. Plus, on an increasing number of airlines, a regular uncomfortable seat in the preferred location will also cost you.
Dreaded Middle Seats? Some Actually Like Them
Here’s how seat preference broke down among survey respondents:
- 58% prefer aisle seats
- 42% prefer window seats
- 4% prefer middle seats
Yes, we know the above figures add up to more than 100% – but we do not know why. A better question is, who are the four percent who prefer middle seats? And for heaven’s sake, why?!
Flyers: We’ll Take Cheap Flights Over Comfort
Other fees were attacked, too, including checked-bag charges and fees for in-flight amenities such as meals and pillows, but in the end it all seems to come down to cost vs. comfort. A surprising 81% said they would be willing to go without any kind of in-flight entertainment for a significantly cheaper flight. We already know they’re willing to sit in an uncomfortable seat – if it’s free.