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June 26, 2008

Air Travel is Down: Video Conferencing Will be Up

By Gary Kim, Contributing Editor

The Travel Industry Association says deep frustration among air travelers caused them to avoid an estimated 41 million trips over the past 12 months at a cost of more than $26 billion to the U.S. economy. With fuel prices as high as they are, fares will have to rise. That is going to hit air travel even harder.
An easy prediction: Video, audio and multi-media conferencing is going to get a boost.
Conducted by Peter D. Hart Research Associates and The Winston Group, the research also demonstrated that air travelers express little optimism for positive change, with nearly 50 percent saying that the air travel system is not likely to improve in the near future.
“The air travel crisis has hit a tipping point – more than 100,000 travelers each day are voting with their wallets by choosing to avoid trips,” says Roger Dow, President and CEO of TIA (News - Alert) .
Dow noted that the 41 million avoided trips during the last 12 months rippled outward across the entire travel community costing airlines more than $9 billion in revenue; hotels nearly $6 billion and restaurants more than $3 billion. In addition, federal, state and local governments lost more than $4 billion in tax revenue because of reduced spending by travelers.
“Many travelers believe their time is not respected and it is leading them to avoid a significant number of trips," says Allan Rivlin, a partner at Peter D. Hart Research Associates. “Inefficient security screening and flight cancellations and delays are air travelers' top frustrations.”
More than 60 percent of respondents believe the air travel system is deteriorating. Significantly, 48 percent all frequent air travelers (five or more trips per year) are dissatisfied.
Delays, cancellations and inefficient security screening are chief complaints.
The survey of 1,003 air travelers (adults who had taken at least one roundtrip by air in the last 12 months) was conducted between May 6 and May 13, 2008.
Gary Kim (News - Alert) is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Gary’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

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