What Exactly Makes Travelers Happy? TripIt’s New Study Has The Answers
By Kelsey Marie
Travel has become such a normal part of many people’s lives that we often go through the motions without thinking about what actually makes us happy while in flight. Everyone has their own preferences but in general, travelers have come to develop certain expectations while flying.
TripIt’s third installment takes a look at over a million flight ratings (ranging from 1- to 5-stars) over the span of a year and formulates the conclusion of what actually makes travelers happy.
Here’s what the happy travelers’ report has to say:
Duration Of Flight
Most travelers reported being happy during flights lasting less than three hours (4.34 out of 5 stars). However, it’s long-haul flights, lasting 12 hours or more, ranked higher with a 4.35-star average.
The happiest flight was found to be the 17-hour+ flight departing from Dallas, Texas and landing in Sydney, Australia (4.6 stars). “Whether it is higher quality entertainment systems or better meals or just a happier crew, ultra-long-haul flying does come with some benefits compared to the shorter hops more commonly seen,” reports Seth Miller, a passenger experience expert.
Top 10 International Routes by Flight Rating
|1||DFW-SYD||Dallas/Fort Worth – Sydney||17:20||4.60|
|2||JFK-DXB||New York – Dubai||12:25||4.57|
|3||ORD-NRT||Chicago – Tokyo||13:20||4.56|
|4||BOS-MUC||Boston – Munich||7:30||4.55|
|5||LAX-TPE||Los Angeles – Taipei||14:35||4.52|
|6||JFK-SJU||New York – San Juan*||3:50||4.51|
|7||LAX-HND||Los Angeles – Tokyo||11:40||4.51|
|8||ATL-SJU||Atlanta – San Juan*||3:35||4.50|
|9||SFO-AKL||San Francisco – Auckland||12:50||4.49|
|10||LAX-AKL||Los Angeles – Auckland||12:55||4.48|
|* US |
Time Of Year That You’re Traveling
It turns out that the season you’re traveling in has a big effect on happy you are. One would think summer would be the season with the happiest travelers but it’s actually at the start of the year, in January.
TripIt found that travelers flying in January are 39 percent happier than those traveling in June.
Amenities Included During Flight
Travel expert Lee Abbamonte says, “Travelers expect certain amenities to be baked-in with their fare prices. When one of those amenities fails to deliver on the expected value, traveler happiness takes a nosedive.”
When thinking of what personally makes you happy during a flight, amenities such as the comfort of your seat, food/beverage options, entertainment, Wi-Fi and service comes into play.
According to TripIt’s study, high-quality Wi-Fi and entertainment aren’t the top priorities for traveler’s happiness. Having comfortable seating is 6X more impactful than having Wi-Fi and good service is 2.7X more of a priority than having good food and beverage options.
The Type Of Ticket You Have
Of course first class had happier travelers overall but what was surprising was travelers who traveled basic economy (4.35 stars) were more happy on their flights than those in regular economy (4.24 stars). Overall, those who fly on discount carriers are the happiest, with a 4.5-star rating.
The reason why so many travelers are happier on economy flights is that the service exceeded their expectations when considering the price of the flight.
65 airports in the U.S. were analyzed and it was found that travelers prefer landing in alternate airports than major metro airports when flying domestically.
Top 10 Domestic Arrival Airports by Flight Rating
|1||DAL||Dallas Love, TX||4.53|
|5||MCI||Kansas City, MO||4.48|
|9||SAT||San Antonio, TX||4.45|
When flying internationally, travelers prefer stunning airports with high-quality service, amazing architecture and advanced technology.
Top 10 International Arrival Airports by Flight Rating
|2||TPE||Taipei||Taiwan – Chiang Kai Shek||4.37|
|3||NRT||Tokyo||Japan – Narita||4.34|
|5||HND||Tokyo||Japan – Haneda||4.28|
|6||ICN||Seoul||South Korea – Incheon International||4.27|
|8||DXB||Dubai||United Arab Emirates||4.26|
Kelsey-Marie is an NYC girl who currently lives in Johannesburg, South Africa. You can keep up with her on Instagram at @kelseydashmarie