What would make you swipe left on an airline?
You know, like on the insanely popular dating app Tinder. Don’t like? Swipe left.
What are the deal-breakers that could doom for your budding romance with an air carrier?
Insights company Qualtrics recently released an Airline Pain Index, which asked travelers to rank the annoyances they might encounter while flying, ranging from mild to deal-breaker.
Would it surprise you that 1 in 5 travelers have actually switched preferred airline carriers because of bad experiences? I’m guessing not, given the many cases we receive from you each day.
Here are some other highlights from the Qualtrics survey:
More than 1 in 3 passengers said lost luggage, hidden fees and unfriendly flight crews would make them not want to fly with that airline again.
Most respondents said lost luggage (88 percent), hidden fees (80 percent) and canceled flights (78 percent) bothered them “a lot.” Interestingly, only 45 percent put delayed flights in that category.
Women are twice as likely as men to report being unhappy when traveling, and put a higher emphasis on clean facilities and transparent pricing.
Fellow passenger pains
Bad hygiene was far and away the top complaint, with 45 percent of respondents saying it is one of their top complaints, followed by someone kicking their seat (35 percent) and sitting next to someone who’s had too much to drink (35 percent). However, about 1 in 3 passengers (30 percent) don’t mind sitting next to someone who wants to talk, and surprisingly, nearly half of respondents (49 percent) don’t mind switching seats if someone asks.
In a related study, Expedia’s 2015 Airplane Etiquette Study, seat kickers took the cake — but there were all kinds of categories on the list, including the “undresser” and the “mad bladder.”
Air travel can be annoying. Believe me, I know.
But why are we so preoccupied with the behavior of others? Are we just now speaking up, or are people actually getting ruder?
On a recent flight, a rather large woman sat next to me in the window seat (I was in the middle), but her arm took up my entire arm rest and half of my seat. She kept moving, which meant she kept jabbing me, and I couldn’t stay asleep. I wondered if she was silently fretting, aware of the discomfort she was causing me, or if she simply didn’t care or notice.
Do you spend time thinking about how your behavior and actions on a plane might affect others? I think it’s probably a two-way street — seat kickers are long-legged passengers who barely have room to move, and mad bladders simply can’t help it if they need to use the lavatory frequently, even if that means waking up the person next to them multiple times.
With any mass transit situation, there needs to be compromise as the needs of different passengers compete — or there will be chaos.