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TripAdvisor Air Travel Survey Reveals Flyers Sour On Seat Discomfort But Cheer Streamlined Check-in

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SOURCE TripAdvisor

U.S. Air Travel Expected to Increase in 2014; Growing Number of Travelers Using Mobile Devices to Research Flights and Check In

NEWTON, Mass., June 5, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- TripAdvisor®, the world's largest travel site*, today announced the results of its annual air travel survey of more than 4,300 respondents. The number of U.S. travelers expecting to fly this year is on the rise, as 93 percent intend to take a domestic flight at least once in 2014, up from 89 percent who said they flew domestically last year. International air travel is also taking off, with 63 percent planning flights abroad, compared to 55 percent who did so in 2013.

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"Interest in domestic and international flights continues to rise despite some persistent air travel frustrations, such as uncomfortable seats and limited leg room," says Bryan Saltzburg, general manager of TripAdvisor Flights. "We are also seeing some positive signs, as flyers report more streamlined check-in processes and easier booking, and the increased use of technology, such as mobile apps help the traveler experience."

Flyers Cite Improvements in Booking and Boarding
Travelers were asked about air travel improvements over the past five years and a more efficient process was the top choice.

The top five biggest improvements in air travel:

  1. More streamlined check-in process – 38%
  2. Easier booking – 36%
  3. More streamlined security process – 32%
  4. More streamlined boarding process – 28%
  5. Better in-flight entertainment options – 25%

Uncomfortable Seats Remains Top Air Travel Complaint
Travelers' greatest issues with air travel remain consistent year-over-year, with a lack of seat comfort beating out costly airline fees and ticket prices as flyers' biggest frustration.

The top five flyer complaints about air travel:

  1. Uncomfortable seats / limited legroom – 73%
  2. Costly airline fees and ticket prices – 66%
  3. Unpredictable flight delays – 45%
  4. Long security lines – 35%
  5. Loud / crying children – 32%

When travelers were asked which amenities would most improve their in-flight experience, their answers reflected these frustrations: "more legroom" (35 percent) and "more comfortable seats" (32 percent) were their top answers. As for those frustrated by loud and crying children, 42 percent of respondents would pay to sit in a child-free section. 

"Slim-Line" Seats Receive Slim Praise
The airline industry's recent introduction of "slim-line" seats does not appear to be getting a warm reception, according to survey respondents. Of the 32 percent who have experienced the new seats:

  • 65 percent said they are less comfortable than traditional airline seats
  • 7 percent said they are more comfortable than traditional airline seats
  • 28 percent could not tell the difference

Mobile-Savvy Flyers Checking In then Logging Off
Use of mobile devices to research flight prices or check in before takeoff continues to rise year-over-year with travelers using their smartphones to:

  • Check flight status – 69 percent of respondents, up from 56 percent in 2013
  • Check in to flights – 55 percent, up from 38 percent in 2013
  • Research flight prices – 48 percent, up from 36 percent in 2013

Once on the plane, travelers are less eager to ante up for their carrier's in-flight WiFi, as 90 percent say they rarely or never purchase the service. And forget about making phone calls: 81 percent would be opposed to the FAA allowing in-flight cellphone use.

Travelers' Carry-On Essentials
For a more comfortable flight, from takeoff to touch down, travelers are stocking up on the following flight must-haves:

  • Reading materials – 77%
  • Medication – 53%
  • iPad/Tablet – 52%
  • Tasty snack – 49%
  • Hand sanitizer – 31%

TripAdvisor Flights Helps Flyers Book Wisely
To help travelers make the best booking decision, TripAdvisor Flights features comprehensive in-flight insights, amenities information and candid traveler photos coupled with the ability to scan for the lowest prices for airlines globally. Travelers can try out these features at

About TripAdvisor
TripAdvisor® is the world's largest travel site*, enabling travelers to plan and have the perfect trip. TripAdvisor offers trusted advice from real travelers and a wide variety of travel choices and planning features with seamless links to booking tools. TripAdvisor branded sites make up the largest travel community in the world, reaching nearly 260 million unique monthly visitors**, and more than 150 million reviews and opinions covering more than 4 million accommodations, restaurants and attractions. The sites operate in 39 countries worldwide, including China under TripAdvisor also includes TripAdvisor for Business, a dedicated division that provides the tourism industry access to millions of monthly TripAdvisor visitors.

TripAdvisor, Inc. (NASDAQ: TRIP) manages and operates websites under 22 other travel media brands:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, and

*Source: comScore Media Metrix for TripAdvisor Sites, worldwide, Q1 2014

**Source: Google Analytics, average monthly unique users, Q1 2014; does not include traffic to

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