If you’ve never missed a flight you’re spending too much time in airports. Non-stops are nearly always better than connecting, though on the longest flights the time a connection adds to your overall journey is relatively smaller (if everything goes as planned).
Passengers prefer non-stop travel over connections, but at what margin? How much are people willing to spend to avoid a connection and does it depend on how long of a connection they’d have to take?
A new study suggests that US passengers are willing to pay a $115 premium for a non-stop flight rather than connecting when traveling internationally.
Shanghai Pudong Airport
They’re willing to accept a 1 hour 13 minute connection on average, and millennials aren’t willing to wait as long as baby boomers. More than anything this tells me that travelers have an unrealistic sense of connecting times, given that international travel often involves re-clearing transit security even if there’s no passport control involved, that the downside of a misconnection due to delay is often greater for international travel than domestic, and that navigating unfamiliar airports often makes longer connecting times desirable.
Only 16.1% of passengers say that they like layovers. After all everyone wants to get where they’re going. An extra takeoff and landing means doubling the chances something will go wrong. And most airports aren’t that comfortable to wait in.
To Lounges, Tokyo Narita Airport
Just because you can book a 60 minute inline British Airways connection wholly within London Heathrow terminal 5 doesn’t mean that everyone should.
Interestingly British passengers are willing to wait longer on a connection, and aren’t willing to spend as much to avoid one.
Overall Asian airports are passengers’ preference for connecting experiences (with Tokyo Narita, Singapore Changi, and Seoul-Incheon scoring especially well). Honolulu and then Seattle are the top scoring US airports, and quite reasonably Munich scores best in Europe though all things equal I might prefer Vienna myself.
London Heathrow Terminal 5
How much will you pay to avoid a connection, and where’s your favorite place to connect if you can’t avoid it?
(HT: Blue Swan Daily)