Flying in Today's World


To a significant degree, the 500 or so hardy souls who participated in our Apr. 10 reader survey on flying don't seem to have been overly dissuaded from getting on a plane, September 11 nothwithstanding.

About 97% of the respondents fly, on business, for pleasure, or both. Some 63% said they now fly as much as or more than they did before the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, and 52% say they haven't switched to another mode of travel. Still, a substantial minority -- 28% said they now fly less -- which helps explain the ongoing turmoil in the airline industry. In fact, 39% now drive instead of fly on occasion.

By a significant margin -- 49% to 40% -- the respondents think that efforts since September 11 to improve airline safety have made no difference. And they're somewhat skeptical that a couple of proposed safety measures would do much good.

REMEMBERING FACES. For instance, only 50% think that screening all luggage would make flying safer than it is now -- vs. the 44% who think that such a change would make flying only as safe as it is now. Just over 53% think that using facial-recognition systems to screen passengers would make air travel more secure -- but 35% don't think so, and 10% aren't sure.

Some 72% of those who responded say that the price of a ticket and departure/arrival time determine which flight they take -- although a not insignificant 20% decide based on the airline.

As you might expect from a Web survey, a majority -- 52% -- book their flights via the Web, while 29% continue to use a travel agent.

And now, for the complete details of our unscientific but still interesting survey:

Do you fly primarily for business or for pleasure?

Option

Total

%

Business

149

30.41 %

Pleasure

203

41.43 %

Both equally

125

25.51 %

I don't fly

13

2.65 %

Since September 11, do you:

Option

Total

%

Fly about as much as usual

271

55.08 %

Fly less than before

139

28.25 %

Fly more than before

42

8.54 %

I don't fly

40

8.13 %

Do you think efforts to improve airline safety since September 11 have:

Option

Total

%

Made flying safer

199

40.45 %

Made flying less safe

8

1.63 %

Made no difference

240

48.78 %

Don't know

45

9.15 %

When you fly, what most influences your decision on which flight to take?

Option

Total

%

The fare

198

40.24 %

The times at which I want to leave and arrive

156

31.71 %

The airline I'll be taking

97

19.72 %

The type of plane

12

2.44 %

None of the above

19

3.86 %

I don't fly

10

2.03 %

If you have substituted other means of transportation for flying, which do you use most?

Option

Total

%

Car

190

39.09 %

Bus

3

0.62 %

Train

37

7.61 %

Ship

2

0.41 %

Haven't switched to another mode of travel

254

52.26 %

If all luggage were screened, flying would be:

Option

Total

%

Much safer

243

49.69 %

About as safe as now

215

43.97 %

Less safe

4

0.82 %

Don't know

27

5.52 %

If airports used facial recognition systems to identify passengers, flying would be:

Option

Total

%

Much safer

262

53.47 %

About as safe as now

174

35.51 %

Less safe

5

1.02 %

Don't know

49

10.00 %

How do you normally book your flight?

Option

Total

%

Using a travel agent

141

28.72 %

Via the Web

257

52.34 %

Call airline reservations

62

12.63 %

Other

20

4.07 %

I don't fly

11

2.24 %


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