Travel seen improving in past decade: survey

Fri Apr 1, 2011 1:49pm EDT
 
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NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Despite delays and baggage fees, most Americans think that travel is better today than it was in 2001, according to a new survey.

The poll by online travel company Orbitz showed that 71 percent of people think travel has improved during the last decade, with 61 percent saying that the ability to comparison shop online is the best thing about travel in 2011 compared to a decade earlier.

"There is a time and money factor," said Marita Hudson-Thomas, Orbitz's director of public relations. "It's fast and it's easy now with online bargain hunting, and people can make sure they are getting the absolute best deal."

Eighty one percent said additional airline charges, such as checked bag fees and paying for meals, were the worst things about travel in 2011.

"Money is important to people," Hudson-Thomas said. "Anything that takes money out of their pocket, people are not going to like."

The ability to choose seats was the most popular part of the in-flight experience, with 27 percent of people saying they found it particularly useful.

The poll of 1,000 Americans who have traveled within the last year also showed that despite the massive increase in the use of smart phones over the last decade, 76 percent of travelers who own them have not used one to book travel arrangements.

But that could change as people become more comfortable with new technologies.

"Consumer behavior hasn't caught up with technology yet," she said. "I absolutely think this number will rise, probably significantly."

(Reporting by Bernd Debusmann Jr., editing by Patricia Reaney)

 
<p>Travellers walk to their flights at the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Washington November 24, 2010. REUTERS/Jason Reed</p>