NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Travelers may get riled by flight delays and overbooking but their biggest gripes are having to pay for baggage and rude staff, according to a U.S. poll.
A Consumer Reports survey asked 2,000 Americans to rank their complaints about rental cars companies, airlines and hotels and found that luggage fees caused the most resentment.
But the survey found that airline ticket fees and rude behavior by staff were not far behind.
“Two themes emerged. One of them was added fees. That really irritated people regardless of the industry,” said Mark Kotkin, of Consumer Reports. “For airlines, in particular, it was the new luggage charges.”
The other main irritant, across all three industries, was rude or unhelpful staff.
Kotkin suspects passengers find charges for luggage so irritating because they are new and they are expensive.
“It just hit a sensitive spot with travelers,” he added in an interview. “Clearly, I think, the message is there -- if you want to annoy people charge for luggage.”
Surprisingly consumers questioned in the poll said lack of information about airline delays was more aggravating than the delays themselves. Passengers were also annoyed by fellow airline passengers who hog seats and carry-on space.
On a more positive note, airline passengers seem to have accepted waiting in long lines to go through security and check-ins at airports and the lack of snacks on flights.
The survey also revealed differences in annoyance levels between the sexes and generations.
Women were more vexed than men by expensive hotel room snacks, insufficient bedding in hotels and aggressive rental car company staff trying to sell them upgrades.
Although they may have grandchildren at home, older passengers had less patience with unruly children on airplanes than their younger counterparts.
When asked if there was a clear message for employees of the three industries, Kotkin said it was it was “be nice to people.”