Airline seat discomfort top gripe among Southeast Asian travellers

Written by FE Online | Mumbai | Updated: Aug 18 2014, 23:10pm hrs
TripAdvisor has unveiled the results of its inaugural air travel survey of more than 1,200 respondents from Southeast Asia. Andrew Wong, regional director, TripAdvisor Flights, APAC, said, "Interest in international flights continues to rise despite some persistent air travel frustrations, such as uncomfortable seats, limited leg room and unpredictable flight changes but we are also seeing some positive signs as flyers report easier booking and more flight routes that help improve the traveller experience."

The top five flyer complaints about air travel are listed, with uncomfortable seats or limited legroom topping the list:

- uncomfortable seats / limited legroom 61 per cent

- unpredictable flight delays / cancellations 50 per cent

- costly airline fees and ticket prices 50 per cent

- long security lines 43 per cent

- loud / crying children 42 per cent

When travellers were asked which amenities would most improve their inflight experience, their answers reflected these frustrations: 'more legroom' (28 per cent) and 'more comfortable seats' (24 per cent) were their top answers. For long-haul flights of over four hours, 80 per cent of travellers are willing to pay an additional fee for extra legroom. As for those frustrated by loud and crying children, 48 per cent of respondents would pay to sit in a child-free section.

Travellers were also asked about air travel improvements over the past five years. The top five biggest improvements in air travel;

- easier booking 63 per cent

- more affordable flights 49 per cent

- more flight routes / options 45 per cent

- more streamlined check-in process 38 per cent

- better in-flight entertainment options 25 per cent

The top three uses of mobile devices by travellers include 'research flight prices' (57 per cent), 'check-in to flights' (56 per cent) and 'check flight status' (54 per cent). Once in the air, travellers are less eager to go online with 95 per cent saying they rarely or never purchase their carriers inflight Wi-Fi service.

It will come as little surprise to frequent travellers in the region that amongst the many airlines available, travellers in Southeast Asia have named AirAsia and Singapore Airlines as their favourite low-cost and full service carrier respectively.

Singapore Changi Airport was also recognised as the regions favourite airport with 64 per cent of respondents naming it their preferred airport. Flyers cite 'easy navigation' (45 per cent), 'wide variety of shopping' (44 per cent) and 'wide variety of dining options' (41 per cent) as the reasons.