Brief • 3 min Read
The past few months have a been stressful time for the airline industry. A string of airline safety incidents at the end of 2023 continuing into 2024 are causing some flyers to worry about their safety, according to recent data from The Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Fast Company. However, there is good news for airlines: most travelers still have confidence in the airline industry’s ability to get them to their destination safely.
Despite recent safety incidents, most travelers still trust aircraft safety standards.
Three quarters of U.S. adults (76%) report being aware of at least one recent major plane safety incident, with the Boeing-Alaska Air incident being most often recognized (64%). Two-thirds (64%) agree that news stories about such incidents lead to safety concerns during flights.
That said, most U.S. adults have faith in airline employees and safety protocols airlines use to ensure the safety of passengers.
Nine in ten (86%) U.S. adults agree that they trust flight teams to keep passengers safe during flights, and seven in ten (73%) agree that they trust passenger planes are thoroughly inspected before flying. This number increases to 79% among both recent and upcoming flyers (i.e., those who report having flown in the last 12 months and those who plan to fly in the next 12 months).
Even with the recent high-profile airplane safety incidents, a majority of U.S. adults feel that flying is a safe way to travel. Seven in ten (69%) agree that flying is safer than other means of long-distance transportation. This increases to 78% among both recent and upcoming flyers.
Still, these incidents will likely impact air travel activity.
Four in ten (43%) of U.S. adults who are aware of at least one recent major plane safety incident note that they now feel less comfortable flying. This number increases to half (52%) among those who have been on a flight in the past three months and 51% among those who plan to fly in the next three months.
The publicity of these air-travel safety incidents will likely lead to an increasing participation in optional safety precautions among travelers in the coming months.
Notable sums of upcoming travelers who are aware of at least one recent major plane safety incident note that they are more likely to pay attention to safety materials (48%), wear a seatbelt when not required (47%), pay attention to pre-takeoff activities (45%), and monitor plane functions (42%).
The prevalence of airplane safety incidents are also likely to affect how travelers book their flights. Notable sums of upcoming travelers who are aware of at least one recent major plane safety incident note that they are more likely to consider the type of plane they will be flying on (40%) and the airline they book with (36%). A third (33%) report that they are more likely to consider the area of the row their seat is located in and 30% are likely to consider the area of the plane their seat is in.
This survey was conducted online in the United States by The Harris Poll from February 2, 2024 to February 5, 2024 among 1,079 US adults, ages 18+. Figures were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions within the US population. Respondents for this survey were selected from a pool of potential respondents who have agreed to participate in The Harris Poll’s online research. For additional information, please reach out to The Harris Poll.
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