Legs, head or bottom? Which body part wants airlines' attention the most?

Monday 15, September 2014


Legs, head or bottom? Which body part wants airlines' attention the most?


Let’s face it. Airlines are packing passengers in like sardines. They are revamping their aircraft to fit more passengers, of course, because they can make more money that way.


But passengers are increasingly complaining about various body parts that need some “comfort and joy.” Which part is complaining the loudest?


Would you give up bathroom privileges in exchange for say a better meal? Would you give up in-flight entertainment for a good pillow? How about throwing in some extra cash for more legroom?


A full 29% of Spanish respondents reported a willingness to forego "bathroom privileges" in exchange for a low fare. Only 11% of Germans would give up legroom. Across all regions, flyers under 35 showed more willingness to give up on in-flight perks; 95% of under-35 travelers would forego at least one of the above perks, versus 89% of those 55 and older. Across all ages and genders, in-flight entertainment and pillows and blankets were considered the two least important perks.


LCCs Optimal for Weekend Jaunts

The Expedia 2014 LCC Airline Index asked respondents which trips would be most appropriate for an LCC flight. Weekend trips were most popular, honeymoons the least. Options include:

  • Weekend getaway: 78%
  • Family trip with at least 3 members (for whom the traveler is paying): 42%
  • Friend's bachelor/bachelorette trip: 39%
  • Company-paid business trip: 19%
  • International flight: 16%
  • Honeymoon: 11%
  • Would never consider an LCC: 9%


Flight Distance Matters

45% of Western Europeans would consider an LCC for a flight time of up to three hours. For a flight approaching five hours, that figure drops to 23%, and tumbles thereafter. Only 3% of study respondents would fly an LCC for a flight up to eight hours long, and 1% would fly up to 12 hours. Younger flyers expressed more willingness to fly longer on an LCC, with 42% of under-35 flyers willing to fly more than three hours, versus 24% among those 55 and older.


Lowered Customer Service Expectations

The study revealed that 81% of Western Europeans expect to receive "much or somewhat better" customer service when flying with a traditional carrier versus an LCC. 77% report that they are willing to accept worse customer service in exchange for a cheaper seat. 82% of Spanish travelers – the highest figure – were comfortable with that tradeoff, versus 65% of the Irish. On the whole, 80% of European men were willing to accept worse customer service, versus 75% of European women. Under-55 flyers (80%) were more willing than those 55 and older (73%).


These expectations that customers will have to trade onboard amenities for low fares perhaps explain the ongoing reluctance of customers to consider LCCs for business travel with only 19% reporting that they would consider an LCC for a company-paid business trip. Despite ongoing attempts to attract business travelers with more flexible fares and additional services, it remains clear that the LCCs have significant work to do to convince business travelers that they are a good alternative to traditional carriers based at primary airports in many major European cities.


Additional analysis of the Expedia 2014 LCC Airline Index can be found at



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