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Bad Attitudes Don't Have to Make You Say Ba Humbug: Travelocity Reveals Survey On Rudeness in Travel and Tips to Make Trips Merrier This Holiday

From Unruly Kids to the Infamous Airplane Seat-Kicker, Travelocity & Public Agenda Poll Reveals Rudeness Seen as a Serious Problem in Travel, Especially At Holiday Time

Dec 11, 2003

'Tis the season of merriment, unless you're traveling next to a loud talker or an incessant cell-phone chatterer, says a new Travelocity poll on the state of rude behavior amongst travelers. This survey of more than 1,000 travelers was conceived by Public Agenda, a nonprofit public opinion research organization which conducted a major national study of rudeness in America that was supported by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

The study shows that one of the most festive and celebrated seasons of the year, the winter holidays, can bring out some not-so-merry behavior in travelers. While 35 percent of travelers don't think rudeness is a serious issue, the majority of travelers think it can be. However, most travelers (60 percent) are able to shrug rudeness off within a few minutes. With this survey in mind, Travelocity is sharing ways to make the holiday journey a merrier experience through education and some helpful hints.

Unfortunately, travel is considered always stressful by many (29 percent), while the survey showed that an equally large group (28 percent) feels that travel during the holidays is the most stressful travel time of the year, even above business trips and summer vacations. Airports around the country work to counter this anxiety by offering special holiday programs, such as local musicians and gift-givers for kids. Major airports such as LaGuardia, Chicago Midway, Atlanta, and Dallas/Fort Worth are among them.

According to the survey, one third of respondents feel rude travelers and travel personnel are the factors that most negatively impact their trip. "Contrary to popular opinion, our study shows that travel is more of a stressor at holiday time than spending time with relatives," said Travelocity editor-at-large, Amy Ziff. "Compare a 28 percent response rate for those who say travel is the most stressful to the 10 percent who cited family."

What bothers people most? It isn't the much talked about food on-board, although respondents do find fish, ethnic food, items with garlic and fast food to be amongst the most bothersome items brought on board. Instead, respondents vote that uncontrolled children as well as fellow passengers who kick the seat-back in front of them are the most aggravating.

The survey results were accumulated in Nov. 2003 and consisted of responses from more than 1,000 Travelocity members. Complete results can be found at . Additional survey findings as follows:

   The top 5 factors most likely to elicit rude behavior when traveling:
      1. Rude company personnel
      2. Lost luggage
      3. Reservation problems/complications
      4. Rude fellow travelers
      5. Long lines

   Root causes of rude behavior:
      * Largest group (65 percent) cited waiting in long lines and losing
        one's patience as the most common trigger for rude behavior
      * The second largest group (63 percent) attributed rudeness to a
        deeper factor, saying it was a result of parents' failing to teach
        their children proper respect

Fortunately, travel morale is a problem with a remedy. Following are a few tips from travel expert Amy Ziff that can help deter travelers from being rude on the road. For more travel tips, trends and data, visit . "It's important that we all take time to examine our own actions to see if there are things we can do to help modify or eliminate rude behavior on the road," said Ziff.

   * Know the rules at the airports ahead of time so you can move through
     security quickly and avoid holding up others whenever possible.
   * Space is limited when you're on the road, so try to keep your things
     neat and within your own limits.
   * Avoid packing smelly food and be sure to dispose of it as soon as you
     are done.
   * Limit cell phone usage, and remember to keep your voice down when you
     use it.
   * When on the road, remember to say it with a smile as you're more likely
     to get a smile in return.
   * Be considerate of those around you in every situation.  Think of
     yourself as a guest, rather than as an owner.

"Changing negative behaviors in general is perhaps more important than ever, as travelers wield a lot of buying power and can assert their preferences by voting with their wallets and showing what they like and dislike. In fact, our survey shows that after encountering rudeness by company personnel, half of those polled said they stopped conducting business with that provider again," said Ziff.

   Other Key Findings:
      * While the majority of respondents get over rude behavior quickly,
        almost three out of every four respondents tell their friends when
        treated rudely by travel service personnel and 50 percent say they
        refuse to do business with the company again
      * Twenty four percent of respondents indicate that they are likely to
        encounter rude behavior all or most of the time
      * While the majority feel it is not rude to bring food on a plane, two
        out of every five feel it is if food smells offensive
      * Fellow travelers and drivers are considered ruder during the holiday
        season by more than half of respondents (while travel personnel are
        seen as behaving the same as usual)
      * Flying is considered the most stressful mode of transit by
        48 percent of respondents, even above road trips

  About the Travelocity/Public Agenda Rudeness Poll

The Travelocity study was fielded from Nov. 4 - 6, 2003 via a survey of Travelocity members who have traveled in the last 12 months to obtain information about travelers' experiences with rudeness while on the road. Results were accumulated by more than 1,000 responses received.

About Public Agenda

Public Agenda is a nonprofit organization dedicated to nonpartisan public policy research. Founded in 1975 by former U.S. Secretary of State Cyrus Vance and Daniel Yankelovich, the social scientist and author, its mission is to inform leaders about the public's views and to educate citizens about government policy. In 2002, Public Agenda published the landmark study titled Aggravating Circumstances: A Status Report on Rudeness in America, which documented America's growing concern about incivility as a serious problem that should be addressed by our society.

About Travelocity

Travelocity, a Sabre Holdings(TM) company, pioneered the online travel space and continues to be the most popular travel service on the Web, giving consumers access to hundreds of airlines, thousands of hotels and cruise, last-minute and vacations packages, and best-in-class car rental companies, all backed by 1,000 customer service representatives staffed to provide 24-hour assistance. With 41 million members, Travelocity is the sixth largest travel agency in the United States. It has been recognized worldwide for its leadership in the online travel space, and it operates or powers Web sites in five languages across four continents. Additional information about Travelocity can be found on the Web at .

Sabre Holdings Corporation is a world leader in travel commerce, retailing travel products and providing distribution and technology solutions for the travel industry. More information about Sabre Holdings is available at .

   Judy Haveson (
   Amanda Borichevsky (

SOURCE: Travelocity

CONTACT: Judy Haveson, +1-212-554-7425, or , or
Amanda Borichevsky, +1-972-488-4790, or , both of
VOLLMER, for Travelocity