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C hanges in travel behavior in the wake of a record-setting flight delays and cancellations

11-08-2007

 

CHICAGO, IL, October 29, 2007 - Orbitz (www.orbitz.com), the online travel company with a heritage of keeping travelers "A Step Aheadô," today announced the results of its Orbitz Traveler Update Report - a quarterly survey focusing on industry trends and the most prevalent issues affecting travelers. The Orbitz Traveler Update Report examined changes in travel behavior in the wake of a record-setting summer for flight delays and cancellations, as well as rising travel costs in a number of sectors.

 

When it comes to flying, passengers are changing air travel plans in a number of ways. The report found that one-third (33 percent) of those surveyed have opted to travel through a smaller regional airport to avoid possible delays, even if the airport requires more travel time. Regardless of which airport they are using, almost 70 percent of travelers are leaving for the airport earlier than they used to, with nearly 40 percent saying they have added an extra 30 minutes to their travel time.

 

"Travelers are exploring new ways, through technology and alternative trip choices, to make the experience more enjoyable," said Randy Wagner, chief marketing officer, Orbitz Worldwide. "Whether they're using services like OrbitzTLC Traveler Update to stay a step ahead of local airport conditions or arriving to check-in 30 minutes earlier than normal, our customers continue to be resilient in choosing to travel."

 

Airports aren't the only places where travelers are changing behaviors. Rising gas prices are also affecting travel choices, with 35 percent of those surveyed saying they are renting smaller cars as a result of current fuel costs.

 

And travel costs in general, associated with airfare, gas prices and lodging have caused 31 percent of respondents to stay at a less expensive or lower-rated hotel than they would prefer while traveling.

 

Many of the behavioral changes, however, are occurring in and around airports. With the TSA's 3-1-1 rule regarding carry-on liquids, 40 percent of travelers say they are checking luggage more often, while only 25 percent say they have altered what they check in order to adhere to the regulations.

 

Although checking luggage is becoming more frequent, technology is helping to alleviate the check-in process. Sixty percent of those surveyed say they now check in from home or work before arriving at the airport. This, along with positive feelings toward check-in kiosks, helps explain why two-thirds (67 percent) of those surveyed feel the check-in process has become a more positive experience overall.

 

What has become the most difficult? The largest number of respondents (42 percent) say getting through airport security has become a more negative experience this year. This was followed by getting a preferred seat on a flight, at 36 percent.

 

Travelers are also becoming more educated on ways to avoid possible flight delays. Thirty-two percent of those surveyed say they now book the earliest flight of the day or travel the night before a meeting or appointment, to minimize risk of delays and ensure arrival at their destination ahead of time.

 

Summarized findings of the Orbitz Traveler Update report are:

 

  One-third (33 percent) of those surveyed have opted to travel through a smaller regional airport to avoid possible flight delays.

 

  70 percent of travelers are leaving for the airport earlier than they used to, with nearly 40 percent saying they have added an extra 30 minutes to their travel time.

 

  35 percent of those surveyed say they are renting smaller cars as a result of the increasing gas prices.

 

  40 percent of respondents stated they are checking luggage more often than, while only 25 percent say they have altered what they check in order to adhere to the TSA's 3-1-1 carry-on liquid regulation.

 

  60 percent of those surveyed say they now check in for flights from home or work computers prior to arriving at the airport.

 

  67 percent of those surveyed feel flight check-in has become a more positive experience overall.

 

  42 percent say getting through airport security has become a more negative experience this year, followed by getting a preferred seat at 36 percent.

 

  32 percent of those surveyed said they now book the earliest flight of the day or travel the night before needing to be at a destination in order to avoid possible flight delays.

 

  31 percent of those surveyed feel current travel costs associated with airfare, gas prices, rental cars and lodging have caused them to stay at a less-expensive/lower rated (e.g., lower star rating) hotel.

 

 

About OrbitzTLC Traveler Update

 

OrbitzTLC Traveler Update (http://updates.orbitz.com) is a one-stop resource for updated information on flights, flight delays, as well as up-to-the-minute updates from fellow fliers. The site incl
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