Both Domestic and International Air Travel on the Rise in 2012

TripAdvisor recently announced the results of its annual air travel survey of more than 1,000 U.S. respondents. Americans are flocking to the skies this year as 91% of respondents said they plan to fly domestically in 2012, compared to 84% that did last year.  International flights are also on the rise, with 65% planning a flight out of the country, up from 55% in 2011. 

When it comes to flying, the majority of travelers have no interest in socializing.

  • 76% of travelers prefer to keep to themselves while in-flight.
  • Only 9% expressed interest in trying a "social seating" program that allows fliers to choose a seatmate based on social network profiles.
  • 40% would pay extra to sit in a designated "quiet" section of the plane.


Twenty-​two percent of survey participants don't enjoy a single thing about air travel, and most travelers cite legroom and seat comfort (or lack thereof) as their biggest complaint.

  • 41% believe that more legroom is the biggest improvement airlines can make, with 30% citing more comfortable seating.  However, 71% aren't willing to pay for extra legroom on domestic flights less than four hours long.
  • On flights longer than four hours, however, 35% would shell out $25 for more legroom.


Travelers like their frequent flier programs and, when it comes to booking, brand does matter.

  • 52% subscribe to frequent flier programs and find them valuable.
  • 58% say the brand of airline is important when considering which flight to book.
  • 15% say that racking up frequent flier miles is the most enjoyable thing about air travel.
  • Of the 20% of fliers who order an alcoholic drink on-​board, 42% favor wine.
  • Singapore Airlines tops most people's wish lists, with 17% saying they haven't yet flown with this global carrier but would like to.


  1. Orlando International Airport, Florida
  2. Hartsfield-​Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Georgia
  3. Dallas/​Fort Worth International Airport, Texas
  4. San Francisco International Airport, California
  5. Charlotte Douglas International Airport, North Carolina


  • More than half plan to participate in TSA's pre-​check program.
  • The three most popular months for air travel this year are May, October, and September.
  • 27% would choose one airline over another if the flight offered Wi-Fi.
  • 45% are concerned that rising gas prices will cause air fares to increase, so they plan to book travel plans early.
  • 43% consider airplanes to be the most germ-​laden travel location, more so than hotel rooms and public transportation.

"As air travel becomes more stressful, fliers flock to mobile technology," says Bryan Saltzburg, general manager of TripAdvisor Flights. "In-​flight Wi-​Fi, powerful new mobile devices, and other tech carry-​on essentials allow fliers to create a more relaxing and enjoyable flying experience."

[Source:  "TripAdvisor Annual Air Travel Survey."  TripAdvisor.  25 Apr. 2012.  Web.  1 May 2012.]