A new survey released by the U.S. Travel Association showed that millions of business travel trips are avoided or canceled each year because of travel hassles such as delays, cancelations and airline fees. If there was a more efficient air travel system in the U.S., business travelers would have take 2.69 more domestic trips in 2013, the U.S. Travel Association reported.
Other top concerns for travelers, aside from delays, fees and cancelations, were security lines and checked-bag fees. Nearly 40 percent of travelers expressed the most concern for delays and cancelations, while fees by airlines captured the attention of 26 percent of travelers. Safety came in at 11 percent and security screenings at 8 percent for top concerns. Only 6 percent of business travelers expressed no concerns about the air travel system.
The loss of trips by business travelers also had an effect on the economy. According to the U.S. Travel Association, as much as $95 billion was lost on airfare, $5.8 billion on hotels, $5.7 billion on recreation, $3.4 billion on food services and $2.8 billion on car rentals.
“Whether it be for business or leisure, travel activity is indisputably terrific medicine for the U.S. economy,” U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow said in a statement. “One of our major aims is to help our leaders better prioritize travel-related policies that will get this country moving. This survey shows that modernizing our air travel infrastructure should be a top national priority.”
Although concern regarding Congressional intervention in air travel, such as imposing fees on airlines, was a key factor for one in every 100 travelers, survey respondents are more worried about fixing the air travel system’s infrastructure.
“Meanwhile, upgrades to air traffic control are a decade behind schedule, and airports are struggling just to keep up with maintenance, let alone expand so that capacity and economic activity can comfortably increase,” Dow said. “The most recent global ranking did not place a single U.S. airport in the top 25. It is threatening our ability to compete.”
The U.S. Travel Association suggested a number of key fixes for these top-ranked concerns by travelers. According to the organization, by making targeted investments in infrastructure, delays and cancelations will decrease and funds collected through fees for those late and canceled flights should directly benefit travelers and the travel infrastructure instead of being funneled toward unrelated purposes by Congress.
By improving transparence when it comes to airline fees, travelers will better be able to calculate costs and budget for a trip. Overall costs can decrease by expanding airports to give travelers more flight options.
The survey also found that nearly nine out of 10 travelers said that air travel in the past year has proven to be more difficult or stayed the same, U.S. Travel Association reported. When it comes to the importance of overall cost when purchasing an airline ticket, 91 percent said it is a “very important” or “somewhat important” factor. The organization also found that 92 percent support a rule proposed by the U.S. Department of Transportation that would require airlines to display pricing with the additional fees included.
A surprising result was that 52 percent of travelers said they would pay more for a ticket if the extra money was funneled toward projects that will help to reduce delays and and cancelations while improving the country’s airport infrastructure.
Only 1 percent of business travelers think that flying is cheaper than in previous years, while 81 percent feel that the costs of gone up. The majority of travelers, 91 percent, think that enhancing safety, security and capacity while reducing noise and increasing carrier competition should be an important project.