This is What Engaged Travelers Think About Air Travel Now and in the Year Ahead

Last month this blog and ExpertFlyer conducted a survey of frequent travelers for their habits, preferences, and predictions for air travel. Those results are in.

“Our survey among ExpertFlyer customers and View from the Wing readers really focused in on the true business traveler who is frequently on the road and has a firm opinion about the travel industry and its impact on them,” explains Chris Lopinto, president and co-founder of “The survey offers some insight into the mindset of the business traveler, what they thought about their experiences in 2015 and more importantly, their thoughts for the year ahead.”

Here’s the full info graphic with results (.pdf). You can find more at the ExpertFlyer blog.

Engaged frequent travelers don’t think air travel is getting better, and are at least occasionally delayed. But club lounges are getting better, airport wifi is getting better, and net net the airport experiences is better than it used to be.

Business travelers mostly fly domestic, with Europe second, and top destinations are New York, Los Angeles, and London.

American Airlines is the top airline pick over United, Delta, and other carriers. That’s no doubt the result of who is being surveyed — engaged, savvy travelers who know that over the past few years American has been more generous than competitors.

While United and Delta changed their mileage program, American held off until 2016 and beyond and preserving their mileage award chart until March 22 next year.

What’s more, ExpertFlyer itself has been an indispensible tool for American regulars — as the only source for American’s confirmed upgrade inventory, paid fare class availability, and email alerts for space. (Although it’s recently been improved for Star Alliance as well.)

Tidbits that stood out to me:

  • I found it interesting that travelers prefer to relax and be entertained rather than work inflight. I find that I never quite get there on domestic flights, I’m always working. And that it’s only ultra long haul flying, or flights without internet, that I watch movies or read for pleasure.

  • Uber and Lyft have overtaken taxis, but many business travel policies don’t yet allow for services like Airbnb.

  • Some people really let loose on the road… and admit it. 15% admit to padding expense reports, the most common thing being treating friends to a reimbursable meal. And 15% admit to doing things like going to a strip club, watching in-room dirty movies, and even having affairs.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Gary, you are really missing out by constantly working on flights. It is certainly easy to understand why busy people work on planes. But the thing I like best about flying is that it provides time to think. Working often precludes thinking and just comes down to doing things as quickly as possible. Some of my most productive “work” has come from simply relaxing and thinking on a plane. It is a great opportunity to open one’s mind to new information, ideas and different points of view. Also that decompression time can help with productivity in the office. The peace and quiet on a plane can also be really nice for getting work done at times as well.

  2. One might have expected American to come out on top in this survey this year anyway because they have the added benefit of US Airways elites, although their share of the votes is still pretty high compared to UA and DL.

  3. It will be interesting to see how AA does in next year’s survey. They are killing the golden goose – business travelers.

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