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Leg room and prompt departure – the top two essentials for a good flight

06 May 2014

Just under half of air-travellers want to be seated away from other people’s kids, while more than twice as many fathers than mothers want a seat away from their own kids.

  • Twice as many men than women say sleeping or anxiety pills are in-flight essentials
  • Men more likely to want their smartphone or tablet, while women prefer a book or e-reader

New research reveals that leg room is the key priority for Brits jetting off on their holidays - with 73% of travellers saying that having a seat with a good amount of leg room is key to a good flight. Other essentials for a pleasant plane journey include the flight departing on time (71%) and friendly cabin crew (56%), while nearly half (49%) of respondents want a seat away from other people’s kids. 

The survey commissioned by Travel Insurance also found that on-board entertainment was important to airline passengers – with good reading material and seatback screens both making it into the top ten:


Top 10 In-flight essentials



A good amount of leg room



Flight departing on time



Friendly cabin crew



A seat away from other people’s children



A good in-flight meal



A quiet neighbour



A good read (book or e-reader)



A seatback screen showing entertainment



An alcoholic drink



A smart phone/tablet


Generally male and female air-passengers had the same priorities for a good flight but, more women (47%) than men (36%) considered either a good book or e-reader an essential. However, 22% of men compared with 16% of women thought that their smart phone or tablet was an on-board necessity.

Male and female passengers were equally concerned about having a seat away from other people’s children – but, more than twice as many fathers (9%) than mothers (4%) thought that being seated away from their own kids was preferable for a good flight.   

While they didn’t make it into the top ten, the survey also found that double the number of men (10%) than women (5%) said that sleeping or anxiety pills were key to a pleasant flight, while 15% of women wanted to snuggle-up in a blanket compared with only 10% of male air-travellers.   

Caroline Lloyd from Travel Insurance commented, “As our survey shows, comfort, entertainment and considerate fellow passengers are priorities for airline travellers. For peace of mind, travel insurance should be another item on holidaymakers’ list of essentials.

“Bought as either a single trip or a multi-trip policy, travel insurance will cover you for a range of eventualities including your trip being cancelled or cut-short, medical expenses and, the loss or theft of your luggage or other personal possessions. There are a wide range of options and levels of cover available depending on your needs and destination. So it’s important to shop around to make sure that you get the product you need, at the right price.”

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Notes to editors:

On 17th March 2014, Vision Critical conducted an online survey among 1,355 randomly selected British adults who are Springboard UK panellists. The margin of error-which measures sampling variability-is +/- 2.2%. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and regional data to ensure samples representative of the entire adult population of United Kingdom. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.