Airport anxieties

Stressed out people at the airport

A new survey from independent airport lounge pass provider Priority Pass details the most stressful elements of the airport experience, according to travellers

The survey, which took in responses from 1,720 air travellers from the UK, found that baggage collection is considered to be the most anxiety-inducing aspect of the airport routine, with 48.9 per cent of respondents citing it. Passing through security came second, with 46.5 per cent, followed by waiting for transfers (also 46.5 per cent), checking in (43.7 per cent) and – though technically this doesn’t happen at the airport – packing for a holiday (42.6 per cent). The rest of the top 10 consisted of, in ascending order: travelling to the airport, getting to the relevant boarding gate, arriving at the airport, landing, and storing hand language.

Priority Pass also asked travellers to discuss the sorts of eventualities that made them feel anxious when it comes to air travel, i.e. not necessarily things that definitely happen. Sixty-three per cent of respondents said that they were the most worried about getting stuck on their way to the airport, while 61 per cent said they were worried about losing their luggage, and 41 per cent said that they were worried about losing a child.

Moving on to things that do happen, nine per cent of travellers said that they had missed a flight at some point, with the 16-24 age group the most likely to do this, while only six per cent had forgotten their passport (though men were more than twice as likely to do this than women). And 20 per cent of people travelling with their families said that they had needed to sprint to the gate at one time or another. You can view the original survey findings here.

“The survey has shown some very interesting results, particularly relating to people's worries and stresses whilst travelling,” said Andy Besant, Travel Experience Director at Priority Pass. “Almost one in 10 have missed their flight, which is quite a shock, considering you need to be at the airport two hours before your flight.”

Considering that travel is meant to be a pleasant activity, it seems that many people find the experience to be very much the opposite. Is it terribly surprising, though? As far as we at ITIJ can see, airports seem to be specifically designed to be unwelcoming and stressful – far from the most ideal way to begin a nice, relaxing holiday.

Could it be that it’s time to re-think the whole experience?