Tech Amenities Drive Traveling Choices for More Fliers: Survey

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Airline fees and uncomfortable seats with limited legroom, not surprisingly, top the list of flier complaints. But according to a new TripAdvisor survey, technology-related amenities such as Wi-Fi are increasingly becoming deal breakers for many travelers.

The study, released last week, is based on 2,000 respondents.

Technology Trends

Technology and up-to-date amenities are increasingly important to fliers, according to the survey.

One quarter of the respondents said they would choose one airline over another if it offered Wi-Fi. And the use of tablets continues to grow with 37 percent considering their Apple iPad or other tablet a carry-on essential, a five percent increase from 2012. (Read more: Will iPads Revolutionize In-Flight Entertainment?)

More travelers are also using a smartphone for travel-related activities. Among the top tasks:

  • Checking flight status – 56 percent of respondents, up from 46 percent in 2012.
  • Checking into flights – 38 percent, up from 30 percent in 2012.
  • Researching flight prices – 36 percent, up from 30 percent in 2012.

Top Complaints

The top five complaints among travelers were:

  1. Uncomfortable seats and limited legroom
  2. Costly airline fees and ticket prices
  3. Unpredictable flight delays
  4. Long security lines
  5. Other passengers

While seat comfort is a priority for travelers, many are reluctant to pay a premium for the benefit. About 44 percent have never paid extra for a better seating assignment. And if they were to shell out money, 85 percent of travelers said they would pay less than $25 for a seat upgrade on domestic flights, while 81 percent would pay $50 or less on international flights.

As far as fees, the five that annoy travelers the most were:

  1. Checked baggage
  2. Carry-on baggage
  3. Seat selection
  4. Printed boarding pass at the airport
  5. In-flight amenities