A poll of air travelers finds that passengers’ biggest complaints are not about getting to their final destinations, but rather about the challenges associated with getting to the gate.
Recent passenger surveys have revealed that passengers are very happy with their travel experiences overall. A just-released Ipsos Public Affairs poll showed that 85 percent of flyers were “very” or somewhat” content with their air travel experience. A more recent study conducted for the infrastructure consulting firm HNTB sheds some light on some of the issues flyers do have with commercial air travel.
Many of those problems appear to arise long before passengers ever board a plane.
The study found that a full 97 percent of travelers surveyed found at least one thing frustrating about the airport experience. The simple hassle of actually getting to flights is chief among those complaints. More than a third of the flying public agreed that waiting in long lines in the terminal is the most unpleasant aspect of taking a commercial flight.
The “Airport Terminals 2017” study, released this week, was conducted by Kelton Global. The survey polled a random sample of 1,054 US travelers. While respondents were generally upbeat about air travel in general, the survey found that passengers are somewhat less pleased with the airport experience.
The report found that many travelers are simply looking for a better way to get to the airport. Most passengers, 84 percent, say they would prefer to use an efficient rail link to the airport – if such an option existed. By the same margins, passengers agreed that airport traffic has either not improved or gotten worse over the last decade.
“Ground access to the airport terminal, the movement of automobile traffic, passenger pick-up/drop off and parking are factors that increasingly determine the quality of the air travel experience,” HNTB Senior VP Laddie Irion explained in a statement revealing the study’s results. “The interest in public transit access to airports is very strong. In planning for improvements, airport authorities should consider partnering with transit agencies to create the public transportation access that travelers seek.”
Passengers hold the greatest animus for airport security procedures. More than 60 percent of travelers say that airport security checkpoints should be completely reworked.
“We are all well aware of the need for robust airport security, but there are opportunities to make the process more comfortable, such as flooring that is comfortable for passengers without shoes, soothing and comfortable lighting, and creating a pleasant area for passengers to re-compose themselves after completing the screening process,” Irion suggested.
The HNTB America THINKS survey concludes that the TSA is just one of the many reasons passengers don’t like heading to the airport. More than half of passengers describe airport terminals as “stressful,” with almost as many calling the typical terminal “frustrating” or even “exhausting.”