Fearful flyers willing to pay more for flights

Tel Aviv, Oct 16: People with a fear of flying (FOF) are willing to pay more for a flight with their home carrier, rather than a charter so that they could communicate freely with the crew in their own familiar language, says a study.

Easing barriers such as language, social and cultural norms can be helpful in reducing anxiety, according to the first ever study undertaken by the Ben-Gurion, Negev (BGU) and Hebrew Universities of Jerusalem and Technion Israel Institute of Technology.

The percentage suffering from FOF has increased over the past few decades, even though statistics demonstrate that air travel is the safest mode, according to the International Air Transport Association, the Journal of Travel Research reported.

FOF travellers have preferences concerning the aircraft size and manufacturer. They favour day flights over night flights and prefer non-stop flights over connecting flights due to the stress of take-offs and landings.

These white knuckle flyers are also more confident flying with name carriers versus low-cost carriers, according to a Ben Gurion statement.

“Due to accumulation of media exposure of flight accidents, fear of flying is on the rise, even though statistics show that air travel is the safest means of travel,” explained Anat Tchetchik of BGUs Department of Hotel and Tourism Management, who led the study.

“How people make choices on their mode of travelling and how it affects their willingness to pay for alternative flight options is an issue of immense concern for public agencies and the industry,” added Tchetchik.

Researchers questioned 335 Israeli students and offered each several choices of alternative flight itineraries from Israel to London and Israel to New York.

The data revealed that all of the respondents stated that they intend to fly in the future and approximately 77 percent had flown at least once during the five years preceding the survey.

IANS