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Onboard Preferences

What airline passengers value

eTN Staff Writer  Jun 13, 2009

In 2008, the majority of SeatGuru flyers took more than eight flights, and over 90 percent consider cabin cleanliness first when making a reservation. For onboard comfort features, 40 percent consider a full meal most important. SeatGuru flyers gave US carriers low marks for serving the worst food, culling information from their 2009 survey of more than 1,600 flyers.

Singapore Airlines Serves the Best Food - American, United, & US Airways Serve the Worst

When asked which comfort feature provided by an airline flyers value the most, getting a full meal overwhelmingly ranked highest (40 percent). Singapore Airlines was voted #1 for serving the best food (19 percent), followed by British Airways (9 percent), Continental (7 percent), Air France (7 percent), and Cathay Pacific.

JetBlue Cozies Up with Most Comfortable Economy Seats

JetBlue led the pack with the most comfortable economy-class seats (11 percent), while Singapore Airlines scored first for business-class (21 percent). American (12 percent/15 percent), United (10 percent/13 percent), and US Airways (12 percent/10 percent) led the way for least-comfortable economy- and business-class seats.

Flyers Will Open Their Wallets for More Legroom

Forty-two percent of flyers will pay up to 10 percent over ticket cost to get five additional inches of legroom, and those in the know said upgrades were worth it (83 percent). Business-class flyers are even more likely to pay extra to stretch their legs.

The Middle Seat Blues

When asked which celebrity couple travelers would most like to sit between, the majority of respondents said they preferred not to sit between anyone (56 percent). For those who didn't mind celebrity seatmates, preference went to the President & First Lady, followed by Brad and Angelina, the Beckhams, Ashton & Demi, and Tom & Giselle.

Security Risk

When asked if they've ever knowingly transported banned items through security, 13 percent of flyers said they had.

US Flight Attendants Need Etiquette School

When asked which airline had the rudest flight attendants, United clocked in with the rudest (14 percent), followed by American (13 percent) and US Airways (11 percent). Singapore Airlines was voted first for having the most polite attendants (19 percent), followed by British Airways (8 percent) and Southwest (7 percent).

Fear of Flying

Though there isn't a safest airline or safest part of the plane to fly on, flyers perceive international carriers to be safest, and four out of five voted the most unsafe were US carriers. Twenty-six percent feel safest in the front of planes, followed by the middle (17 percent) and the back (6 percent). Four percent never feel safe, and 47 percent feel safe regardless. Seventeen percent of flyers self-medicate before flying. US-based flyers fear sickness/coughing and overweight seatmates most; international flyers fear body odor and overweight seatmates.

Leisure Travelers Say "Give Me a TV" - Business Travelers Hunger for Power & Internet Access

When asked which in-flight entertainment feature they value the most, flyers said having a TV at the seat came first (32 percent), followed by movies (24 percent), power ports (9 percent), and Internet access (8 percent).

What's That Smell?

Dirty diapers, vomit, tissues, and mystery stains are among the most disgusting things flyers have seen left on aircraft seats. Other notable items that flyers claim to have seen left on seats include crushed bananas in seatbacks, toe nail clippings, husbands, ear plugs, and mothers-in-law.

"Domestic airlines have been making strides in recent years to better compete with international airlines, but it is clear that they still have a ways to go in the eyes of flyers," said Matthew Daimler, founder of SeatGuru.

What airline passengers value
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