BANGKOK – According to a new survey from global travel company Expedia, Thais are the most frequent travellers in Asia with an average of 10.1 flights per year, followed by Japanese and Indian travellers.
On average, travellers are taking five one-way flights per year, with personal flights (3.2 per year) accounting for two-thirds of these flights and another third being business trips (1.6 per year).
Business travel is particularly high in Thailand (4.5), Japan (3.9) and India (3.6). Economy-class travel predominates, especially for personal trips, with US and Thai business travellers being the most likely to travel in premium economy or above.
Most travellers still prefer a printed boarding pass, with nearly half (47%) using print only and a third (32%) using a combination of both print and mobile boarding passes, while 21% use a mobile device.
Americans (28%) and Italians (27%), along with select markets in Asia such as Thailand (30%), India (29%) and (South Korea 27%), lead the way for choosing mobile-only boarding passes, Expedia said.
Time to snooze … who loses?
When it comes to passing a sleeping passenger, most say they would wake them and ask them to move (42%) and a third would climb over them (20% with their back to them and 15% facing them), while nearly a quarter (23%) would just wait.
Travellers in Asian markets tend to be more likely to wake them, led by Hong Kong (60%), Thailand (59%) and Singapore (58%).
Nearly a third of passengers (30%) say they take off their shoes but not their socks, while 7% go barefoot on aeroplanes. The Japanese are the most likely to go barefoot (16%), while Swiss (48%) and British (43%) travellers were most likely to take off their shoes but keep on their socks.
Mexicans (85%), Thais (81%), Italians (80%), Indians (77%) and Spaniards (77%) were most likely to say that shoes should stay on.
Thais’ pet peeves
Though continents apart, Thais’ pet peeves when it comes to the most annoying in-flight habits don’t differ much from travellers from other parts of the world.
As far as annoying passengers go, the worst in most markets are the seat kickers/bumpers/grabbers, chosen by a majority (51%) of global travellers (vs 37% in Thailand), followed by the aromatic passenger (43% globally vs 42% in Thailand), the inattentive parent (39% globally vs 34% in Thailand), the personal space violator (34% globally vs 43% in Thailand) and the audio insensitive (29% globally vs 31% in Thailand).
When checking into their hotel rooms, guests are mostly annoyed to find bedbugs (61% globally vs 34% in Thailand), a used condom (55% globally vs 52% in Thailand) or cigarette odour and other foul smells (46% globally vs 59% in Thailand).
The most annoying guests include the inattentive parent (45% globally vs 40% in Thailand), the hallway hellraiser (41% globally vs less than 30% in Thailand) and the in-room reveller (41% globally vs 40% in Thailand).
Making travel decisions
Travellers are closely divided between booking a flight first and then a hotel (43%) compared with a travel package with a flight and hotel (38%), while relatively few would book a hotel first (9%).
Singaporean (64%), Malaysian (64%) and South Korean (63%) travellers are most likely to book a flight first, with Thais at 37%.
Choosing to stay at big chain hotels seems to dominate in most markets as a first or second choice (69% globally vs 52% in Thailand), with boutique hotels (51% globally vs 44% in Thailand) and vacation/holiday rentals (34% globally vs 33% in Thailand) as the next most popular option.
WiFi connection is by far the most important hotel amenity for global travellers and is the top hotel amenity for Thai travellers at 71%, followed by complimentary toiletries (34% globally vs 46% in Thailand), an in-room fridge (34% globally vs 45% in Thailand) and freebies such as spa credits and food/drink credits (47% in Thailand).
“Thai travellers are no doubt frequent travellers who love to stay connected to their friends and families back home,” said Lavinia Rajaram, regional head of communications for Expedia Asia. “It thus comes at no surprise that WiFi emerged as the most important hotel amenity among Thais, ahead of even price and location.”
Despite being a price-sensitive group of travellers, it was surprising to see that only 38% of Thai travellers book their flights and hotels together as a package.
“Package bookings remain the single easiest way for travellers to save hundreds [of dollars] on travel, both domestically and internationally,” Ms Rajaram said. “By booking their flights and hotels together, Thai travellers stand to enjoy up to 18% off their travel costs.”
Expedia’s global flight and hotel etiquette study looked at the flight and hotel habits of more than 18,000 adults worldwide and included interviews with more than 600 adult travellers in Thailand.