The world is huge

Don't miss any of it

Travel news, itineraries, and inspiration delivered straight to your inbox.

By proceeding, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.


Are You a Hypocrite When Choosing an Airline?

If you were to extrapolate from travelers’ complaints about air service, you’d be tempted to assume that their primary concerns when choosing airlines were legroom (more not less), nuisance fees (fewer not more), and frequent-flyer miles (more not fewer).

A new survey just released by paints a very different picture. An overwhelming 86 percent of the 1,145 U.S. adults polled placed price as their highest priority when shopping for flights. Checked-bag fees — another determinant of price — were next, at 55 percent, followed by direct flight routes, at 48 percent.

Legroom, which has been so much in the news lately, was deemed important by just 34 percent of the respondents.

The survey drills down into the relationship between price and legroom, focusing on what could be an emerging trend, Economy Minus — instead of paying more for a few extra inches of legroom, as in Economy Plus, pay less for less legroom.

Among survey respondents identified as frequent flyers, 22 percent said they were very likely to buy Economy Minus seats, and 25 percent were somewhat likely to do so.

Notwithstanding travelers’ willingness to sacrifice comfort for price, 50 percent cite cramped seating as among their top gripes, and 59 percent agreed with the statement “Seating is already too small and should not be further reduced.”

Nobody said that consumers were rational or reasonable.

Reader Reality Check

What are your top concerns when booking a flight?

This article originally appeared on

We hand-pick everything we recommend and select items through testing and reviews. Some products are sent to us free of charge with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions and do not accept compensation to review products. All items are in stock and prices are accurate at the time of publication. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

Top Fares From