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Airline passenger poll: Wailing baby or stinky seatmate?

May 22, 2013|By Terry Gardner
  • Alaska Airlines was rated the top full-service airline in a Harris survey.
Alaska Airlines was rated the top full-service airline in a Harris survey. (Associated Press )

Given a choice between flying next to a crying baby or a smelly passenger, 63% of fliers would choose the crying baby over the stinky seat companion.

This was one of several interesting findings of the 2013 EquiTrend Study by Harris Interactive, which in March polled 2,276 adults who agreed to be surveyed. 

According to the survey, 58% of fliers who fly once a year or more are willing to pay for extra legroom on a flight of three hours or more, while 33% will pony up fees for more space on less than two-hour flights.

Although 68% of passengers won’t pay to avoid a middle seat on short flights, the study found 53% will pay to avoid the middle on long flights.

In-flight entertainment and Wi-Fi are very important amenities to parents traveling with children younger than 18, second only to a desire for an aisle or window seat. Male passengers value Wi-Fi more than females (28% vs. 14%) , but women value in-flight entertainment slightly more than men (18% vs. 16%). 

Alaska Airlines was named the Full Service Airline Brand of the Year for 2013 with Hawaiian Airlines and Delta Air Lines placing second and third, respectively. Southwest won Value Airline Brand of the Year for the third consecutive time, which Harris analysts attribute to Southwest’s baggage policies (two bags fly free) and expanding destinations.

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