However, a greater proportion of men (37 per cent) than women (32 per cent) regarded extra legroom as being among their top two in-flight amenities. Similarly, while 28 per cent of men selected in-flight Wi-Fi as a top amenity, only 14 per cent of women did so.
Respondents with children under 18 were roughly twice as likely as those without to choose in-flight Wi-Fi (34 per cent versus 15 per cent) and in-flight entertainment (25 per cent versus 13 per cent) as among their most-desired amenities.
Almost half (46 per cent) of flyers surveyed said they would rather be seated in a zone in which the passengers in front of them couldn’t recline their seats, than be seated in a seat with extra legroom.
Perhaps surprisingly, 39 per cent indicated they would rather let a stranger sleep on their shoulder than have to pay for carry-on baggage.
“Travelers have been dealing with increasing airline prices and add-on fees for the past few years,” says Mike de Vere, president of The Harris Poll. “We wanted to find out which amenities people were willing to open up their wallets for and discovered that while many consider added comfort and entertainment to be worth shelling out for, nearly two in five would give up personal boundaries to avoid carry-on baggage fees.”
Nearly two-thirds of the flyers surveyed (63 per cent) said they would rather be seated next to a crying baby than next to a smelly adult.
Half of the flyers (50 per cent) said they believed airlines should allow passengers to use mobile phones during flights.
Just over one in four (27 per cent) of survey respondents indicated they would rather pay extra for baggage than fly cross-country without in-flight TV and/or movies. However, over half of the flyers (55 per cent) said they would rather have free in-flight Wi-Fi than free TV or movies on a flight.
Alaska Airlines and its sister carrier Horizon Air seem to be preferred carriers for many, as Alaska/Horizon was named Brand of the Year in the full-service airline category in the 2013 Harris Poll EquiTrend Study, followed by Hawaiian Airlines and Delta Airlines.
Southwest Airlines was the 2013 Value Airline Brand of the Year for the third consecutive year in the Harris Poll EquiTrend Study, which Harris Interactive says is probably due in part to the brand continuing to buck the trend of charging for checked bags and change fees.
The Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive between March 13 and 18, 2013 among 2,276 adults (aged 18 and over), of whom 834 typically travel by commercial airline one or more times per year.
Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score-weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.
The full findings and data tables from the new Harris Poll on U.S. flyers’ preferences can be found at www.harrisinteractive.com/NewsRoom/HarrisPolls/tabid/447/ctl/ReadCustom%20Default/mid/1508/ArticleId/1194/Default.aspx.