Travel Technology Association Survey Reveals 92% of Americans Find Complete Access to Fare, Pricing and Schedule Information Helpful When Shopping for Flights on Metasearch Platforms
TravelTech on March 14, 2017
Consumers overwhelmingly want the government to stop airlines from restricting access to information and inhibiting a traveler’s ability to effectively comparison shop for the best-priced and most convenient flights
ARLINGTON, VA The Travel Technology Association today released a new travel consumer survey that indicates the vast majority of Americans find complete access to fare, pricing and schedule information helpful when shopping for flights on metasearch platforms. The survey suggests that Americans overwhelmingly want the government to stop airlines from restricting access to information on sites like TripAdvisor, Skyscanner, Fly.com and Hipmunk, actions that inhibit a traveler’s ability to effectively comparison shop for the best-priced and most convenient flights.
“This is a non-partisan issue on which thousands of individual consumers have already made their voices heard at the Department of Transportation, urging the department to ensure that they have access to all public airline fare and schedule information when they search for the best flight options online. Ninety-two percent (92%) of Americans feel having access to a complete set of publicly available airline fare, pricing and schedule information helps them when booking a flight, including 67% who believe access to all available options allows them to purchase the lowest-cost tickets,” said Steve Shur, president of the Travel Technology Association. “These consumers find airlines’ attempts to reduce transparency of information and prevent comparison of travel options troubling, and look to the DOT to ensure that the improper practice of preventing certain metasearch sites from displaying publicly available fare and schedule information is not allowed to continue.”
The survey, conducted by Kelton Global, found that the majority (63%) of Americans do not believe airlines should be allowed to impose restrictions which hurt consumers on metasearch sites that display pricing and schedule information. Currently, some major US airlines have taken a series of actions designed to prevent these metasearch sites from even displaying (not ticketing) fares, including fares from online travel agencies, or to limit combinability or codeshare itineraries, which further restricts consumers’ ability to customize their itinerary to meet their needs.
The survey found that three-quarters (76%) of Americans feel the government should protect consumers in the air travel marketplace and 60% believe the government should instruct airlines to stop restricting access to basic fare and schedule information on metasearch travel websites and apps.
“Considering that 53% of Americans have traveled on a commercial airline in the past 12 months, spending an average of $461 on their last round trip ticket, it is no surprise that consumers are focused on being able to find the best possible fare,” Shur continued.
“Simply put, the Department of Transportation has authority over consumer protection in air travel. DOT and President Trump’s administration should address this issue on behalf of American travelers and ensure every American can make the most informed choice when shopping for air travel,” Shur concluded.
Other key data findings include:
- Democrats and Republicans agree! The survey revealed that nearly 6 in 10 (59%) of both Republican and Democrat travelers said that airlines should not be allowed to restrict pricing and schedule information on travel search and comparison websites.
- 76% feel airline carriers with network partnerships should not be able to pressure those carriers into withholding pricing and schedule information from consumers who choose to search for flights on metasearch platforms.
- 83% feel online travel agencies provide a public service by allowing consumers to access publicly available fare and schedule information.
- 80% believe travel websites should be permitted to show consumers this data to help them make the best possible choices.
This survey was conducted by Kelton Global between February, 23 and February, 27, 2017, among 1,016 U.S. residents ages 18 or older, using an email invitation and an online survey. Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of the variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews and the level of the percentages expressing the results. In this particular study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 3.1 percentage points from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample. The margin of error for any subgroups will be slightly higher.
ABOUT TRAVEL TECH
The Travel Technology Association (Travel Tech) is the voice of the travel technology industry, advocating for public policy that promotes transparency and competition in the marketplace, encourages innovation and preserves consumer choice. Travel Tech represents the leading innovators in travel technology, including global distribution systems, online travel agencies and metasearch companies, and short-term rental platforms.