1 in 3 Americans Fears International Travel and Flights, Poll Shows

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Recent events have apparently prompted more than a third of Americans to say they have grown fearful of international flying.

A new poll, conducted for TheStreet by GfK, shows that 36% of Americans agree that recent political turmoil has made them afraid to fly internationally. The poll, in which 1,004 people were interviewed by telephone, was conducted July 25 through July 27.

Women are more fearful than men, older people are more fearful than younger people, and people in the west are less fearful than people in other regions, the poll shows.

Why might people fear travel? Well, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down on July 17, killing all 283 passengers and 15 crew members. On July 22, a rocket landed near Ben Gurion Airport outside Tel Aviv and the Federal Aviation Administration temporarily banned commercial flights to the airport.

While passengers express fears, airlines don't seem to be seeing any impact on bookings. Spokesman for Delta (DAL) and Lufthansa (DLAKY) say they have seen no impact. Spokesmen for American (AAL) and United (UAL) declined to comment.

Lufthansa spokesman Nils Haupt said demand for seats on the carrier's daily Frankfurt-to-Kiev, Ukraine, flight has increased despite violence in the western part of the country. Lufthansa also operates about 14 daily flights to Israel.

As for U.S. carriers, they are moving to slow growth across the Atlantic, but not due to fears. Trans-Atlantic demand "as measured by revenue growth is strong but not strong enough to absorb close to 10% (industry) capacity growth," American President Scott Kirby said on the carrier's July 24 earnings call.

In the poll, 355 of 1,004 respondents answered yes when asked, "Whether or not you plan to fly, has the recent political turmoil made you afraid to fly internationally?" Another 621 said no, while twenty said they didn't know and five declined to answer.

Among those who now fear international flying, 42% were women and 29% were men. Also, 68% of men and 56% of women said they were not afraid to fly.

While 71% of people between 18 and 34 said they do not fear international flying, only 53% between 50 and 64 said they are not fearful.

As for people who do fear international flying, those between 50 and 64 were the most fearful, with 44% responding yes. In the oldest group, which included people 65 and over, only 38% said they feared international flying.

Regionally, among Westerners, only 25% expressed fear of international flying, while 73% said they had no fear. By contrast, people in the Northeast were the most concerned, with 43% expressing fear and 57% saying they had no fear. Among Midwesterners and Southerners, 37% to 38% expressed fear while 59% to 60% said they had no fear.

Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.

To contact this writer, click here.

Methodology: OMNITEL is a weekly national telephone omnibus service from GfK, a division of GfK Custom Research North America. The sample for this OMNITEL wave consists of 1,004 total completed interviews, of which approximately 750 consist of landline telephone exchanges and about 250 are made up of cell phone exchanges. Interviews were conducted from July 25-27, 2014. The margin of error on weighted data is +/- 3 percentage points for the full sample.


TheStreet Ratings team rates DELTA AIR LINES INC as a Buy with a ratings score of B. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate DELTA AIR LINES INC (DAL) a BUY. This is driven by multiple strengths, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its notable return on equity, attractive valuation levels, solid stock price performance, revenue growth and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • Compared to other companies in the Airlines industry and the overall market, DELTA AIR LINES INC's return on equity significantly exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Investors have apparently begun to recognize positive factors similar to those we have mentioned in this report, including earnings growth. This has helped drive up the company's shares by a sharp 83.02% over the past year, a rise that has exceeded that of the S&P 500 Index. Regarding the stock's future course, although almost any stock can fall in a broad market decline, DAL should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
  • DAL's revenue growth trails the industry average of 39.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 9.4%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is somewhat low, currently at 0.85, and is less than that of the industry average, implying that there has been a relatively successful effort in the management of debt levels.

TheStreet Ratings team rates UNITED CONTINENTAL HLDGS INC as a Hold with a ratings score of C. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate UNITED CONTINENTAL HLDGS INC (UAL) a HOLD. The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed ? some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income and revenue growth. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that the company's profit margins have been poor overall."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • UNITED CONTINENTAL HLDGS INC reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past year. We feel that this trend should continue. This trend suggests that the performance of the business is improving. During the past fiscal year, UNITED CONTINENTAL HLDGS INC turned its bottom line around by earning $1.30 versus -$2.32 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($4.20 versus $1.30).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has greatly exceeded that of the S&P 500, but is less than that of the Airlines industry average. The net income increased by 68.2% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $469.00 million to $789.00 million.
  • The revenue growth significantly trails the industry average of 39.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 3.3%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • Powered by its strong earnings growth of 66.11% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 28.45% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. Looking ahead, however, we cannot assume that the stock's past performance is going to drive future results. Quite to the contrary, its sharp appreciation over the last year is one of the factors that should prompt investors to seek better opportunities elsewhere.
  • The gross profit margin for UNITED CONTINENTAL HLDGS INC is currently lower than what is desirable, coming in at 27.53%. Regardless of UAL's low profit margin, it has managed to increase from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, UAL's net profit margin of 7.63% compares favorably to the industry average.

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