Most passengers prefer to choose airline seat: survey

Tue Sep 30, 2008 1:49am EDT
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By Miral Fahmy

SINGAPORE (Reuters Life!) - Where you sit is crucial to air travelers, with a global survey finding three-quarters of passengers would like to be able to change unsatisfactory seats, and those next to the window are the most popular.

The poll of more than 10,000 respondents in 13 countries showed that two-thirds of travelers had a seating preference, with 41 percent saying a bad seat would ruin their flight.

Filipinos were the least fussy about their seats, while Thais were the most particular, according to the survey by global market research firm Synovate.

Sixty-three percent said they preferred window seats.

"In an ideal world, travelers would always get to select their first choice seat prior to departure. That is tough though, especially given current flight loads," Sheri Lambert, senior vice president of travel and leisure, said in a statement.

"It's one thing to not like your seat when you are on a short 45-minute flight. Most of us can deal with that. But it's entirely another thing when you are cramped and miserable across the United States or traveling even farther afield."

Seat mates are also very important for many passengers, with a little over a third of respondents, especially women, saying they would prefer to sit next to someone of their own sex.

And contrary to what many parents believe, two-thirds of respondents said they do not mind sitting near children.   Continued...

<p>A passenger aircraft flies against the backdrop of monsoon clouds during the evening in New Delhi July 11, 2008. REUTERS/B Mathur</p>