Air Travel Trends

Departure Airport Decision Factors

Other than price, Americans also consider the distance of the departure airport from their location of origin, the flight schedule available, frequent flyer programs, airport amenities, and ease of navigation inside the airport when choosing a departure airport.

1. Distance from Origin Location

  • According to a 2018 IPSOS survey, most Americans (62%) regularly depart from the airport closest to their home or office.
  • Price could dissuade travelers from choosing their closest airport, but only to a point. While 27% of Americans would travel up to 30 extra minutes to get a cheaper flight and 33% would travel up to an hour extra to get a cheaper flight, only 18% would travel up to 90 minutes extra and only 12% would travel up to two hours extra.
  • Convenient travel to the airport not only considers time to get to the airport, but increasingly the cost of transportation such as an Uber of Lyft to get to the airport.

2. Flight Schedule

  • Behind ticket price and location, Americans base their airport choice on the flight schedules available from each airport, in other words, they choose the most convenient flight time and shortest flight.
  • 22% of Americans in a 2018 IPSOS survey ranked flight schedule as the most important factor for choosing an airport besides the closest airport. 43% ranked flight schedule as the second most important factor for choosing an airport besides the closest airport.

3. Frequent Flyer Programs, Airport Amenities and Airport Navigation

  • The availability of frequent flyer programs is a secondary consideration for Americans when choosing a departure airport that is not the closest to their home or office, along with airport amenities and ease of navigation within the airport.
  • Frequent flyer programs were ranked as third most important besides the airport location for 21% of Americans, while 20% ranked it as the fourth most important factor and 37% as the fifth most important factor.
  • Airport amenities were ranked as the third most important factor for 20% of Americans aside from airport location, with 33% ranking amenities as the fourth most important factor aside from location and 27% as the fifth most important factor.
  • Lastly, ease of navigation of the airport was ranked as the third most important factor for 32% of Americans aside from location, as fourth most important factor for 28% and fifth most important factor for 18%.

2020 US Travel Trends – Coronavirus Update

Three trends in travel for 2020 which have emerged since the beginning of the Coronavirus include an increase in car travel, and increase in local travel, and an increase in staycations.

1. Car Travel

  • Most Americans (81%) that are planning on traveling for leisure in 2020 are planning on doing so by car. Other methods of travel including air travel, cruises, and bus/mass transit travel are all still performing below expected usage.
  • This is being driven by multiple factors, including concern over the safety of other methods of travel during the Coronavirus pandemic, a decrease in the price of gas, discounts on car insurance due to a lack of travel and commuting during the pandemic, and the desire of people to abide by social distancing measures during the pandemic.
  • According to experts, “road trips and car travel will see the largest growth of any travel sector as more people look to avoid large crowds seen in airports, bus terminals, train stations, and cruises. While domestic air travel, cruises, and international travel remain near record lows, interest in road trips and car travel is spiking as people start looking for alternative vacation plans this summer… Our analysis has found that this trend will continue to spike into the 2020 summer as consumers look to take some form of a vacation.”
  • However, car travel is still down 15% year-over-year, but this decrease pales in comparison to the year-over-year decrease for other forms of travel such as air travel, which is down 80%.

2. Local Travel

  • Many experts predict that travel in 2020 will focus on travel 200300 miles from home.
  • This is being driven by the hesitancy to travel far due to concerns over the Coronavirus and travel restrictions, coupled with a “pent-up demand” for travel due to many larger trips being canceled due to the pandemic.
  • According to Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky, “People are not getting on airplanes, they’re not crossing borders, they’re not meaningfully traveling to cities, they’re not traveling for business. They’re getting in cars. They’re traveling to communities that are 200 miles away or less. These are usually very small communities. They’re staying in homes and they’re staying longer.”
  • 63% of Americans interested in taking a road trip in 2020 were willing to travel up to 300 miles for a vacation.

3. Staycation

  • According to Expedia, ‘staycations‘ are increasing in 2020 due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
  • The driver for the increased interest in staycations is the uncertainty around longer and further trips due to the Coronavirus pandemic, coupled with an increased interest in getting out of the house where individuals have been spending an increased amount of time due to Coronavirus restrictions and shut-downs
  • Nearly 60% of Americans report planning on taking a staycation during the summer of 2020.
Glenn is the Lead Operations Research Analyst at The Digital Momentum with experience in research, statistical data analysis and interview techniques. A holder of degree in Economics. A true specialist in quantitative and qualitative research.

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