Thursday, July 10, 2008

Gas Prices Continue to Top Travelers’ List of Most Frustrating Issues

BUSINESS WIRE--In national survey of recent travelers, commissioned by travel insurance and assistance provider Access America, in unaided responses, nearly half (48%) of recent travelers identified gas prices as the most frustrating issue they faced while traveling. That number is double what is was (24%) nine months ago. (Unaided responses are often more powerful than aided responses, because the respondent can choose any response they choose, including nothing.)

Frustration with gas prices has been a consistent issue for travelers since the Access America Travel Frustration Index was launched last year, said Mark Cipolletti, vice president for marketing and communications for Access America. Whether in the form of increased air fares or miles on the road that cost more and more each day, gas prices are a particularly frustrating issue that spills over into non-travel time as well. Its informative to see how this frustration has increased over time in-step with rising fuel costs.

Gas ranks high on the frustration scale for both leisure and business travelers and across demographic factors such as region of the country and income. Among leisure travelers, 86 percent report frustration with gas prices, while business travelers registered at 85 percent. Across all income segments more than 80 percent of respondents said they are frustrated with gas prices, similarly all regions of the country registered above 80 percent.

When asked to rate their frustration with gas prices, three quarters (74%) said they are very frustrated with the cost of gas.

The Access America Travel Frustration Index measures ten categories each quarter. While gas was clearly the most frustrating issue, costs of travel and service issues on airlines also registered on the frustration scale though both of these issues trailed frustrations with gas prices significantly and even showed improvement over previous quarters. More than half (52%) of respondents said they are frustrated with the cost of airline, cruise line and train tickets. Frustrations with these costs ranked nearly 10 percentage points above frustration with other costs, such as costs of lodging (43%).

Slightly less than half (48%) of respondents said they are frustrated with airline and airport services, such as lost or delayed baggage, cramped and overcrowded planes, missed connections, long lines, etc. That number is down from previous quarters, when more than half of respondents were reporting frustration with these issues.

In unaided responses, flight delays and airline/airport issues garnered just three percent and six percent respectively, ranking well below cost concerns (including gas) and crowds or traffic issues.

Booking travel remained the least frustrating issue for travelers. Just 18 percent of respondents ranked booking their trip, including working with a travel agent, selecting a destination or selecting a supplier as frustrating.

The overall Frustration Factor (aggregated responses across all categories) went down from the previous quarter, but frustrations are still rising overall in 2008 compared with 2007:

  • In March 2008 the aggregated Frustration Factor was 57.6 out of 100, while this quarter the Factor was 55.6 out of 100.
  • In August 2007 the Frustration Factor was 53.9 on the same scale.

Complete results for the latest survey, completed in June 2008, across all ten issues measured, are as follows: (percentages show number of respondents who indicated they are frustrated with the issue)

Issue

% reporting frustration



Quarter2 2008

Cost of gas
86%
Cost of travel
52%
Airline service
48%
Cost of lodging
43%
Illness or injury affecting your trip
39%
Labor actions
36%
Weather delays
28%
Service by other travel suppliers
23%
Booking the trip
18%

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