Frustration with traveling drops in 08

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RICHMOND, Va. ' Frustration with traveling has dropped off sharply, according to the latest installment of Access Americas Travel Frustration Index, a quarterly barometer of travelers angst. The results of the latest survey, conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs in December 2008, reveal that Americans consternation with just about all aspects of travel dropped significantly when compared to data collected earlier last year, as well as during the same period in 2007.
 
A familiar resident at the top of the list of frustrations for travelers is the cost of gas. More than half (51%) of Americans say they find this aspect of travel frustrating. However, that number is down a staggering 35 points since August of 2008, and 27 points from the same period in 2007.
 
It appears that frustration with costs have been significantly diffused in the last four months, perhaps because the price of oil is now a fraction of what it was during the summer. In fact, just two in 10 Americans (22%) say that cost issues, specifically gas prices (18%), are the most frustrating aspects of traveling. Compared to December 2007, the proportion of Americans who say theyre most frustrated with the price of gas is down six points and down 13 points from August 2008.
 
The cost of travel, which is greatly impacted by the cost of oil and gas, has been the major source of frustration for the last year, said Mark Cipolletti, vice president for marketing and communications at Access America. But now with cheap gas and airline tickets, consumer frustration has plummeted ' so much in fact that people dont even appear to be upset about baggage fees and the loss of free in-flight amenities.
 
Other aspects of travel that Americans are less frustrated with, compared to a year ago, include airline/airport service (44%, down 10 points), the cost of airline/cruise/train tickets (46%, down 3 points), the cost of lodging or attractions (41%, down 6 points), and homeland security and safety (35%, down 6 points).
 
By creating an index of frustration among those who have traveled in the last three months, Ipsos and Access America have identified the aggregate level of frustration that exists among American travelers. The results have been tallied, and Americans are much less frustrated, overall, than they were a few months ago when it comes to traveling. The index currently registers at 42.6, which is drastically lower than the frustration factor in August of this year (55.1) or even at the end of last year (53.3)
 
The index also allows for comparisons among various demographic groups:
  • Those living in the Northeast (44.6), South (43.6) and Midwest (42.5) are more frustrated with traveling, overall, when compared to those living in the West (39).
  • Those with children (45.5) are considerably more frustrated with traveling than are those without children (40.6).
  • Interestingly, those who are not married (46.0) are more frustrated by travel than are married individuals (41.3).
  • The gap in frustration between business (41.2) and leisure (42.6) travelers has been closed.
     
    Comparing the different modes of traveling, it appears that the calculated level of frustration is still higher when it comes to car travel (score of 44.3) than with air travel (score of 38.4). Car travel appears to be particularly frustrating for those with children (48.8) than for those without (41.3).
     
    Despite a drop in annoyance, fewer Americans report having traveled during the last three months of 2008, compared to the same period of time in 2007. One in ten (10%) say theyve traveled within the last week of taking the survey (down 4 points from a year ago), 8 percent have traveled two to three weeks ago (down 3 points), 8 percent one month ago (down 2 points), and 11 percent two to three months ago (down 2 points).
     
    About the survey:
    These are some of the findings of an Ipsos survey conducted December 4-21, 2008. For the survey, a nationally representative sample of 827 Americans who had traveled in the past three months was interviewed by telephone via Ipsos U.S. Telephone Express omnibus. With a sample of this size, the results are considered accurate within 3.41 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the entire population of adults in the U.S. been surveyed. The margin of error will be larger within regions and for other sub-groupings of the survey population. These data were weighted to ensure the sample's regional and age/gender composition reflects that of the actual U.S. population according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
     
    About Access America:
    Access America is the consumer travel insurance brand of Mondial Assistance. Access America travel insurance and assistance products are purchased by millions of travelers each year, through leading travel suppliers including resorts, airlines, travel agents and more. Access America and Mondial Assistance are part of the Allianz (NYSE: AZ) family of companies. Visit www.accessamerica.com.