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No kids, no mobile phones, no alcohol, more leg room, parachutes, all-inclusive seats and attractive cabin crew

23 July 2015

Unless you can afford to turn left at the top of the aircraft steps, for many people a long-haul flight isn’t the ideal way to start their relaxing holiday. Whether it’s unruly children, drunk fellow passengers or people who take up a bit more than their own seat, it appears British holidaymakers would be prepared to pay a £100 premium for extras that would make their flights a little more enjoyable.

Perhaps most surprisingly the research revealed that more 18 to 24 year olds would be happier sitting with their own gender, enjoying a bit of peace and quiet away from mobile phones, tablets and alcohol, than any other age group polled. So much for “what happens in Kavos”, it seems many young holidaymakers just want to kick back and relax.

Research commissioned by Gocompare.com asked over 1,800 UK holidaymakers what upgrades they would be prepared to pay an extra £100 for on flights of four hours or longer. Having more legroom was the most popular potential upgrade (37%) followed by an ‘all-inclusive’ seat with unlimited food and drink throughout the flight (30%). Sitting in a child free zone would be worth £50 each way for 25% of passengers.

The most popular £100 flight upgrade options as chosen by UK holidaymakers;

  • 37% - More legroom
  • 30% - All-inclusive unlimited food and drink
  • 25% - Child-free area
  • 21% - A seat-back media/entertainment system
  • 14% - Quiet area with no mobile phones, tablets, games consoles
  • 14% - Silent area with even talking kept to a minimum
  • 14% – A personal parachute
  • 14% - Priority for getting on and off the plane first
  • 13% - To sit in a smoking area
  • 11% - A seat closest to the emergency exit
  • 11% - A seat away from overweight passengers
  • 10% - A seat in a no alcohol zone
  • 9% - To have attractive cabin crew (24% of 18 to 24 yr olds)
  • 8% of males and 4% of females would like to be segregated by gender

20% of 18 to 24 year olds would pay a premium to sit in a ‘quiet’ area of the plane where the use of mobile phones, tablets and games consoles were prohibited, and 23% of 25 to 34 year olds would pay extra to sit in a ‘silent’ area, where even talking was kept to a minimum. And although 10% of all passengers would pay to upgrade to an alcohol free zone, 18 to 24 year olds wanted to avoid drunk fellow passengers the most with 18% willing to stump up extra cash compared to just 6% of over 65s.

8% of male passengers and 4% of female passengers would pay £100 extra on a return flight to sit in male and female-only sections of the plane, and 18% of 18 to 24 year olds would too.

Caroline Lloyd, spokesperson for Gocompare.com Travel Insurance, said: “For many holidaymakers it seems that medium and long-haul flights are just a pain in the rear. With over a third of passengers willing to pay a £100 premium for extra legroom on return flights, perhaps it’s time airlines considered alternative means of increasing their profits than simply  cramming in more seats. Many trains these days have ‘quiet’ coaches so why not have quiet zones on planes?

“Many parents with young children know only too well that look they get from other passengers which says ‘don’t even think about sitting near me’. So instead of just hoping that other passengers would be more tolerant, perhaps family areas on planes would be welcomed by parents and grouchy travellers alike.”

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Notes to editors:

*On 17 March 2015, Bilendi conducted an online survey among 1,820 randomly selected British adults who are Maximiles UK panelists and have holidayed abroad.  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.