Flight Preferences: How America Flies [Survey] | Bookit.com

There are countless reasons people take flights, from family visits to business trips to vacations and more, hopping on an airplane for a trip is a common part of modern life. It’s also something that everyone approaches in their own unique way.

Different people have their own techniques and routines when it comes to life in the sky. Here at BookIt.com, we have an understandable interest in how people choose to travel, so we decided it was time to get some real data looking at flight preferences.

Flight Preferences Survey

To that end, we conducted a survey of hundreds of people from all across the United States to see how they prefer to fly. This survey included people from all walks of life and ages, which allowed us to break down the results across generational, gender, and geographic lines. What we found was really interesting, so we decided to make some infographics highlighting the results (looking to in-flight instruction manuals for a little stylistic inspiration, of course.)

How people prefer to fly (by generation)

One of the first things we found from the survey responses is that everyone, regardless of age, prefers a window seat, as it was the top response for at least 58% of respondents among Millennials, Gen Xers, and Baby Boomers. All three generations expressed dressing as comfortably as possible to be their preferred wardrobe style when flying, but we found it very interesting that the older generation is far more likely to arrive at the airport in dressier attire, as only 40% of responses from those in the Boomer generation said they dress down to fly, while both Gen Xers and Millennials were over 50%.

The biggest area these generations differed in our survey, however, was in how they pass the time while in the air. Both Millennials and Gen Xers listed their top overall method of passing the time to be watching TV or movies, which received 27% of the vote for each of those generations. Baby Boomers, by contrast, prefer to read on a plane, with almost 40% of respondents in that age group listing reading as their top choice.

Percentage of people who prefer to read on a plane.

Speaking of reading on planes, we took a specific look at how people prefer to do that and were pleasantly surprised by the results. The popularity and portability of eReaders like Kindles and Nooks in sky high these days, so we thought for sure they would be the top choice for readers, at least among younger generations. While it is true that the 21% of Millennials use those devices to read on planes is the highest of any age group we examined, that number is within 2% of both Gen Xers and Boomers.

The actual top choice for reading, among people of all ages, is physical books. Books earned at least 42% of the vote for every generation, with Millennials actually expressing the greatest preference for cracking open the spine of a good book while in the air at a whopping 55%! Also of note is a disparity between older people and Millennials when it comes to magazine readership. Only 15% of younger people saying they prefer to read magazines on planes, a number that is around half as much as Gen X and Baby Boomer respondents.

Preferred entertainment options on a flight.

Across all generations, there are many different ways people entertain themselves while flying beyond what we have already touched on. Of course, reading, the top overall choice for boomers, and watching TV or movies, the preference of Gen Xers and Millennials, lead the way with 26% of the vote each. The third-most-popular choice, and the only other one cited by at least 10% of respondents, is sleeping, something that 17% of people said is their preferred way to pass the time.

Interestingly, more modern ways of killing time like surfing the internet or playing video games on a phone, tablet, or Nintendo Switch both finished behind a past time that has been around as long as commercial planes – simply looking out the window during the journey. Rounding out our survey results are those who prefer to talk to those around them and those who get things done for their work while in the air with 5% and 3% of responses citing those as top choices, respectively.

Facts and figures about how people fly.

Finally, we decided to dig deep into the responses and data we collected to pull out some of the most interesting and intriguing nuggets about how people of different ages, genders, and geographic regions differ when it comes to flying.

Perhaps our favorite pair of statistics relate to people from the Midwest, who are over twice as likely to drink a beer while flying than people from the rest of the country. With that alcohol loosening them up, maybe it’s no coincidence then that they are also more than twice as likely to spend their flights talking to the passengers around them.

In terms of tech distractions, we found that men are almost 2.5 times more likely to play video games on a plane compared to women, while people from the Northeast are the segment of the population most likely to use their phone to browse the internet in flight by far. In fact, they are almost 50% more likely to do that than people from any other part of the country.

Finally, we looked at what people are willing to pay for convenience for their flight experience. Baby Boomers proved to be the most stubborn generation when it comes to saving their money on plane seats, as they are the only age group where more than half the respondents said they would never be willing to pay for an upgraded seat in any circumstance. Upgraded seats are one thing, however, and paying to avoid delays in travel is another. In that regard, we found that nearly two-thirds of all people regardless of age, gender, or location said that they are willing to pay for a more expensive plane ticket if it gets them to their destination quicker.

We can certainly understand the desire to get to your destination as fast as possible, especially if that trip is taking you to one of the many incredible vacation destinations or all-inclusive resorts we specialize in. No matter how you prefer to fly, if you can’t wait to get in the air on your way to your next dream vacation, be sure to visit BookIt.com today!

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