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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact:  Jackie Olt - Omega World Travel - jolt@owt.net


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Most Travelers Would Pay Extra for a Nonstop Flight
According to Latest Omega Poll


FAIRFAX, VIRGINIA -- September 25, 2000 -- According to a recent Omega World Travel Poll, 82% of travelers said they would pay extra for a nonstop flight. Thirty-two percent said they would pay $50 extra, 25% would pay $25 extra, 14% would pay $100 extra, 9% would pay $10 extra, and 2% would pay up to $200 extra for a nonstop flight. Only 18% of respondents said they would not pay any more money for a nonstop flight. With all of the delays and cancellations of flights this past summer, it is not surprising that most travelers will pay extra to fly nonstop.

These are just a few of the many findings of the latest Omega World Travel Internet and Fax Travel Poll conducted during June and July 2000. Respondents to the Poll included 509 Omega clients and corporate travel managers who responded to the Poll by fax and Internet users from the general public who responded to the Poll on the Omega Web site. Following are the Poll results:

1. How much extra are travelers willing to pay for a nonstop flight?

 
Responses
Percentage
$50
163
32%
$25
125
25%
$0
92
18%
$100
72
14%
$10
48
9%
Other*
9
2%

Total: 509 responses 100%
Other* (Additional responses include "$200", and depends on time change, destination, or arrival time.)

2. What, besides price, is most important to travelers about a hotel room?


 
Responses
Percentage
Comfortable bed
179
35%
Location in quiet area of hotel
65
13%
Cable television
43
8%
In-room coffee
35
7%
Nice view
35
7%
Luxury bathroom
34
7%
Other*
30
6%
Internet connectivity
27
5%
Cleanliness
27
5%
Free local phone calls
26
5%
Work desk
8
2%

Total: 509 responses 100%
Other* (Also important to travelers are safety, non-smoking room, room service, robe and slippers, hair dryer, iron, handicapped accessible room, location near front desk, and being in a suite.)


OMEGA COMMENTS: A comfortable bed is key to travelers so they feel refreshed in the morning in preparation for a long day ahead. We believe hotels could capitalize on this fact to gain an edge over competitors by promoting their comfortable beds. They could offer adjustable or heated beds, firm beds, or water beds. They could also provide soft, cotton sheets, along with superior pillows and comfortable blankets. We also find it interesting that in-room coffee is very important to travelers. In one of our previous surveys, in-room coffee was ranked the top hotel room amenity. Respondents to our current survey also listed many other details that are important to them about a hotel in general, not the hotel room itself. These include location, good food, continental breakfast, exercise facilities and a pool, friendly staff, good service, and convenience to the airport.

3. Which is more important to a traveler: lowest fare or preferred airline?


 
Responses
Percentage
Lowest fare
345
68%
Preferred airline
164
32%

Total: 509 responses 100%

OMEGA COMMENTS: Travelers used to place great importance on booking their preferred airline in order to gain frequent flyer miles. Lately, because of the increase in airfares, we have been seeing even frequent travelers opt for the lowest fare. We believe the airlines should be aware that rising airfare costs are a great concern to both frequent and leisure travelers.

4. How confident are travelers in airline luggage control?


 
Responses
Percentage
Somewhat confident
361
71%
Very confident
99
19%
Not very confident
49
10%

Total: 509 responses 100%

OMEGA COMMENTS: These are somewhat positive statistics for the airlines as only 49 out of 509 respondents or 10% are not very confident in airline baggage control. While 71% of respondents are somewhat confident in airline baggage control, most business travelers prefer to carry on their bags, which leads us to the next question.

5. Do travelers feel passengers carry on too much bulky luggage on plane flights?


 
Responses
Percentage
Yes
435
85%
No
74
15%

Total: 509 responses 100%

OMEGA COMMENTS: Well, this is not a surprise. Travelers these days carry on an unbelievable amount of large, heavy bags, even though the carry-on limit is two bags per passenger. All that luggage slows the boarding process as people take the time to load their heavy bags in the overhead bins. Many times the bags are so heavy, people need help loading and unloading them.

6. What do travelers think of the new baggage measurement templates or sizers that are installed at some airport X-ray machines?


 
Responses
Percentage
Favor them
391
77%
Don't favor them
118
23%

Total: 509 responses 100%

OMEGA COMMENTS: The fact that 77% of respondents favor the luggage templates or sizers at some airport X-ray machines shows that the majority of travelers would rather that most people carry on normal-sized bags that can easily fit in airline overhead bins. While the sizers have caused long lines at the X-ray machines and have annoyed many passengers who have to check their bags because they won't fit through the sizer, in the long run they may help to make travel smoother.

7. On a plane flight, do travelers like to talk to the passenger sitting next to them?


 
Responses
Percentage
Sometimes
317
62%
No
97
19%
Yes
95
19%

Total: 509 responses 100%

OMEGA COMMENTS: These statistics are significant in that they show that travelers mostly like to remain quiet and use time on the plane to sleep, read, relax, work, watch movies, or prepare for their upcoming trip or going home.

8. When traveling, what section of the daily newspaper do travelers like to read first?


 
Responses
Percentage
Main
201
39%
Business
104
20%
Lifestyle
85
17%
Sports
49
10%
International
25
5%
Metro
23
5%
Other*
22
4%

Total: 509 responses 100%
Other* (For some travelers, the most important parts of the paper are the comics, the crossword puzzle, and the editorial page.)

OMEGA COMMENTS: These results show that travelers like their news and as a result appreciate newspapers and news channels on planes and in hotels.

9. Do travelers feel that the proposed United/US Airways merger will cause fares to rise?


 
Responses
Percentage
Yes
345
68%
No
164
32%

Total:509 responses100%

10. Do travelers find most airport airline check-in counter agents friendly?


 
Responses
Percentage
Yes
350
69%
Sometimes
137
27%
No
22
4%

Total: 509 responses 100%

OMEGA COMMENTS: These are very positive statistics for the airlines. The airlines should continue to promote friendly agents and supervisors, as they boost service levels and keep tempers of passengers calm during delays and cancellations.

11. What do travelers purchase most often at the airport?


 
Responses
Percentage
Drink
173
34%
Food
103
20%
Magazine
84
17%
Newspaper
57
11%
Book
44
9%
Nothing
40
8%
Other*
8
1%

Total: 509 responses 100%
Other* (Travelers also like to purchase souvenirs, gum, frozen yogurt, mints, and gifts.)

12. What activity do travelers like to do most during free time on a business trip?


 
Responses
Percentage
Sightsee
213
42%
Relax
126
25%
Shop
61
12%
Relax at the pool
42
8%
Attend a cultural event
17
3%
Play golf
13
3%
Visit a national park
11
2%
Work
11
2%
Other*
7
1%
Exercise
5
1%
Read
3
1%

Total: 509 responses 100%
Other* (Travelers also like to hike, go to a casino, go to a piano bar, and scuba dive. One respondent replied, "I don’t have much free time during a business trip.")

OMEGA COMMENTS FOR QUESTION #12: We find it very interesting that the majority of respondents like to sightsee, followed by relax, during free time on a business trip. In fact, in our 1998 Travel Survey, we also posed this question and once again, sightseeing topped the list, followed by relax. Travel agents should ask their business clients when making their reservations if they are interested in receiving information about local attractions in the city they are visiting.

13. What most annoys travelers about renting a car?


 
Responses
Percentage
Long check-in counter lines
156
31%
Rental offices far from the airport
141
28%
Slow check-in by attendant
107
21%
Requested car unavailable
90
18%
Other*
15
2%

Total: 509 responses 100%
Other* (Travelers also find irritating add-ons and taxes, rental office closed upon late arrival, complicated company Web sites, and different price upon check-in than quoted through 800 number.)

OMEGA COMMENTS: While we acknowledge that rental car companies have taken many positive steps to make the car rental process easier and are not trying to discount all that they have done and continue to do for their clients, the car rental process can many times be slow. Long check-in counter lines top the list of annoyances, closely followed by rental offices far from the airport. Once again, we do acknowledge that the layout of many airports requires car rental offices to be located far from the terminal. In our next survey, we will ask a question on the positive changes car rental companies have made.

14. How often do travelers find air travel to be stressful?


  Responses Percentage
Some of the time 402 79%
All of the time 56 11%
Never 51 10%

Total: 509 responses 100%

OMEGA COMMENTS: We find these statistics interesting in that lately we have been finding travel to be very stressful. For instance, parking lots are more crowded, shuttle buses are slow, there are long walks to gates, and there are more people than ever waiting in line at newsstands and eateries, in addition to flight delays and cancellations. Many travelers know how to make travel less stressful. They travel late in the morning or early afternoon, book nonstop flights, do not travel on Friday nights, pack light, and they take advantage of private airport parking lots. These are all methods that make travel less stressful.

Once again, the Omega World Travel Internet and Fax Travel Poll was conducted during June and July 2000. There were almost 800 responses to the Poll, which was conducted by fax to Omega business travelers and corporate travel managers and on the Internet at the Omega Web site to Internet users from the general public who visited the Web site and responded to the Poll.

The Fax survey and the Internet survey were identical. Respondents were asked to fill in their name, title, company, address, phone number, e-mail, and average number of business trips taken per year. Respondents were only allowed to check one answer or fill in one answer for each question.

After eliminating duplicate surveys, surveys in which travelers said they do not take any business trips during the year, and surveys that did not list a company or phone number, there remained 418 Internet surveys and 91 Fax surveys for a total count of 509 surveys by male and female respondents. Responses for the fax and Internet Polls were compared against each other and found to be consistent.

The 509 respondents said they take between one and 65 business trips a year, with the average traveler taking between three and 10 business trips a year, and some taking 20, 25, 30, 40, and even 65 business trips a year. Sample titles of respondents include chairman and CEO, CFO, consultant, director, marketing manager, president, sales manager, self-employed, travel coordinator, and VP, among many others.

Respondents are from large and small companies and government agencies including Arthur Andersen, Bank of America, Boeing, Department of Energy, E & G Classics, Ernst & Young, First Union Securities, Gage-Babcock, The Greenwood Company, Hershey Foods, National Park Service, Spring Industries, Sweetheart Cup Company, Synthetic Industries, USDA Forest Service, United States Postal Service, and Voith Transmissions, among many others.

The majority of responses came from U.S. cities. There were a few international responses. U.S. cities of respondents include Annapolis, Md.; Atlanta; Chattanooga, Tenn.; Fredericksburg, Va.; Groton, Conn.; Lakewood, Colo.; Lancaster, Penn.; Menomonee Falls, Wis.; Miami, Fla.; Milwaukee; New York City; Philadelphia; Riverside, Calif.; Rosemont, Ill.; San Francisco; Troy, Mich.; York, Penn.; Washington, D.C., and more. International responses were from Budapest, Hungary; Istanbul, Turkey; London; St. Thomas, U.S.V.I.; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Stockholm, Sweden; and Toronto, Canada, among others.

The Omega World Travel Internet and Fax Travel Poll reflects the opinions of Omega World Travel business clients and corporate travel managers and Internet users from the general public who chose to participate in the Poll. The Poll results do not necessarily reflect the opinions of business travelers or corporate travel managers in general, Internet users in general, or the general public.

Omega World Travel, headquartered in Fairfax, Virginia, is one of the 15 largest travel agencies in the United States. Founded by President and CEO Gloria Bohan in 1972, Omega serves corporate, government, and leisure travelers. The company has approximately 1,000 employees and 200 offices nationwide and internationally in the United Kingdom, Guam, and Okinawa, Japan. Overall sales revenues for the company in 1999 were more than $600 million.

Omega is also a leader in Internet travel services. For example, Cruise.com, a separate company founded by Omega, has become the Internet's largest cruise seller. Other Omega Internet sites include TourDeals.com, offering discounts on tours worldwide and AirDeals.com, offering discount airfares on major carriers. Top9.com, the latest Omega Internet success, is a Web ranking and search directory.

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About Omega World Travel
Omega World Travel is a woman-owned, diversity supplier, and one of the largest travel management companies in the US. With worldwide headquarters in Fairfax, VA, Omega serves corporate, government, meeting, and leisure clients throughout the US., Europe, and the Middle East. Omega World Travel also owns Cruise.com, one of the largest sellers of cruises on the Internet, and TravTech, a software development company and Omega Meetings and Conference services.
 

 
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