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Volume 18, Number 21, May 19, 2004
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Study Shows Passengers Prefer Smaller Aircraft
International air travelers overwhelmingly prefer being on 250-seat airplanes to 550-seat airplanes, whether flying non-stop or on connecting flights, a Harris Interactive® study of more than 900 long-distance fliers found.
Harris Interactive surveyed travelers from Tokyo, Hong Kong, and the United Kingdom who had recently taken at least one international flight of eight or more hours. Boeing commissioned the study to determine the aircraft preferences of these fliers.
"We presented respondents with real-life air travel scenarios to better understand the attitudes and feelings that led to their choices," said Dr. David Bakken, senior vice president of Marketing Sciences, Harris Interactive. "What we found was that travelers taking very long flights generally prefer the more convenient and flexible experience provided by smaller planes."
In each region, Harris polled equal numbers of Premium Class Business, Economy Business, and Economy Leisure travelers. Some key findings include:
These overall results are also reflected in the individual results for the regions and the traveler classes surveyed. As the table below shows, the preference for smaller planes tends to be somewhat more pronounced among passengers who fly economy class; and, the preference increases for all classes when they are asked to choose between a non-stop flight on a smaller plane or a one-stop/connecting trip on a larger plane.
"The consistency and strength of these results across all markets and classes of travelers provides further proof that passengers want to fly in smaller airplanes that take them non-stop to where they want to go, when they want to go," said Randy Baseler, vice president -- Marketing at Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "Our product strategy is designed to do just that, design and build airplanes that carry passengers non-stop, point-to-point, with more frequency choices -- in other words, where they want, when they want."
This survey is based on 913 interviews conducted in the United Kingdom, Tokyo, and Hong Kong with international travelers (aged 18 and over) who had taken at least one recent eight-hour or longer flight. Interviews were conducted between November 2003 and February 2004 using a two-stage methodology. Respondents were first screened and qualified by telephone or via in-person interviews and then they completed an online survey at home/work or at a central interviewing location.
In theory, with probability samples of this size, one could say with 95 percent certainty that the results have a statistical precision of ±3.3 percentage points for the overall sample and ±5.6 percentage points for each city of what they would be if the entire air-traveling population for those regions had been polled with complete accuracy.
About Harris Interactive®
Harris Interactive (http://www.harrisinteractive.com) is a worldwide market research and consulting firm best known for The Harris Poll®, and for pioneering the Internet method to conduct scientifically accurate market research. Headquartered in Rochester, New York, Harris Interactive combines proprietary methodologies and technology with expertise in predictive, custom and strategic research. The Company conducts international research from its U.S. offices and through wholly owned subsidiaries -- London-based HI Europe (http://www.hieurope.com), Paris-based Novatris and Tokyo-based Harris Interactive Japan -- as well as through the Harris Interactive Global Network of independent market- and opinion-research firms.
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