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What Travelers Really Think About Airline Fees

NEW YORK, Jan. 30, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Ancillary fees are big business for airlines.  A recent industry report suggests that North American carriers collected $17.2 billion in ancillary revenue during 2013.  But what are these fees really costing airlines in terms of customer satisfaction? As airlines gear up to add yet more fees in 2014, new research from Fly.com reveals a discrepancy between the services that fliers are willing to pay for and the services and amenities currently being offered to them. 

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140130/NY54760-INFO )

It comes as no surprise that baggage fees top the list as the biggest objection for today's airline passengers.  Of the travelers surveyed by Fly.com, 89 percent said it was important that airlines stop charging for checked baggage.  In contrast, 42 percent would pay to have dedicated overhead bin space for their hand luggage, and 35 percent would pay to have their checked luggage come out first at baggage claim.

Travelers are also willing to shell out for things that improve comfort and efficiency – both on board and at the airport.  At a time when airlines are shrinking the size of seats and moving them closer together, 89 percent of survey respondents felt that comfortable seats were an important requirement of air travel.  Moreover, 45 percent would pay for extra legroom, 26 percent would pay to have an empty middle seat next to them, and another 34 percent would pay to prevent the seat in front of them from reclining.  At the airport, 36 percent of fliers said they would purchase a fast pass to speed through security.

"U.S. airlines collected more than $2.5 billion from baggage fees during the first 9 months of 2013 alone," said Warren Chang, vice president and general manager, Fly.com.  "While lucrative, it is important that airlines balance profit against the needs and interests of their passengers.  Our latest survey reveals the type of ancillary opportunities that can bolster passenger satisfaction, while also delivering new revenue streams to the airline industry."

Other Survey Findings:

  • The most popular bundled fare packages include waived baggage fees (88%), confirmed seat selection (45%), and a security fast pass (35%)
  • 46% of travelers have not chosen the cheapest flight because of flight times
  • 40% of travelers would like complimentary meals during their flight
  • Half of Fly.com respondents list price as the most important factor when purchasing airfare
  • 10% of travelers choose flights based on brand loyalty.  However nearly all of these would switch to a different airline if the ticket was at least $51 cheaper
  • 26% of travelers have not chosen the cheapest flight because of too many stops

The Fly.com survey questioned 613 U.S. travelers between Jan. 5 and Jan. 9, 2014.  All respondents were Travelzoo.com and Fly.com users. 

To find the best airfares in 2014, visit Fly.com Today's Best Fares.  

About Fly.com Fly.com™ ( www.fly.com) is the world's easiest-to-use airfare search engine available in the U.S., U.K., Canada and Germany. Fly.com scours major U.S. airlines, international carriers and online travel sites, and then helps people easily sort and refine results by criteria such as number of stops and departure times. Unlike online travel agencies, Fly.com is not a booking engine. Instead, users are referred to their preferred website for direct booking. Fly.com is owned by Travelzoo Inc. (NASDAQ: TZOO). 

About TravelzooTravelzoo Inc. is a global Internet media company. With more than 26 million subscribers in North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific and 25 offices worldwide, Travelzoo® publishes deals from more than 2,000 travel and entertainment companies. Travelzoo's deal experts review offers to find the best deals and confirm their true value. In Asia Pacific, Travelzoo is independently owned and operated by Travelzoo ( Asia) Ltd. and Travelzoo Japan K.K. under a license agreement with Travelzoo Inc. 

Certain statements contained in this press release that are not historical facts may be forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934. These forward-looking statements may include, but are not limited to, statements about our plans, objectives, expectations, prospects and intentions, markets in which we participate and other statements contained in this press release that are not historical facts. When used in this press release, the words "expect," "predict," "project," "anticipate," "believe," "estimate," "intend," "plan," "seek" and similar expressions are generally intended to identify forward-looking statements. Because these forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, there are important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements, including changes in our plans, objectives, expectations, prospects and intentions, and other factors discussed in our filings with the SEC. We cannot guarantee any future levels of activity, performance or achievements. Travelzoo undertakes no obligation to update forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances occurring after the date of this press release. Travelzoo and Top 20 are registered trademarks of Travelzoo. All other company and product names mentioned are trademarks of their respective owners. 

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