The biggest thing standing between vacationers and the beach this summer? Long lines at airport security checkpoints.
According to survey, conducted for Capital One by ORC International, airport security lines have become such an issue for travelers that many people have changed the way they travel. Approximately two-thirds of consumers say that security lines influence the way they pack, dress and when they arrive at the airport. Millennials feel the most impacted among consumers, with 78 percent indicating long wait lines influence these travel planning behaviors. Over the past 12 months, more than one in four Millennials (28 percent) have suffered the greatest frustration of all: missing a flight due to long wait lines, the new survey by Capital One® showed.
Unfortunately, things may get harder for travelers before they get easier. A record-breaking 243 million passengers and crew are projected to pass through security checkpoints across the U.S. this summer, according to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Last summer, TSA screened more than 239 million people.
To better understand consumers' experiences, Capital One and ORC International1 recently surveyed more than 1,000 Americans on how airport security lines impact the way they travel and how travel influences their relationships. What we found are fascinating behaviors around how people plan for and value trips.
For example, among consumers who say long lines significantly or somewhat influence the way they dress, the majority opts for slip-on shoes so they can easily remove them and move through the security line (65 percent). Most of them (56 percent) do not wear a belt or jewelry that would need to be removed. When they pack, 71 percent of Boomers say they've "learned to pack like a pro," and nearly one-third of Millennial parents limit the number of child-related items they might need. These stats suggest that many consumers now pack strategically in hopes of breezing through the airport to kick off their hard-earned vacation more quickly.
Additional Capital One Travel Survey findings:
- Approximately two-thirds of travelers say that airport security lines impact the way they pack (65 percent), dress (62 percent) and when they arrive (63 percent) for travel to some extent. More than one in four consumers say lines significantly influence their decisions.
- Millennials are the most impacted of the generations, with three-quarters (78 percent) indicating long wait lines influence their travel packing, dressing and/or airport arrival time.
- Fourteen percent of consumers have missed a flight in the past 12 months due to long wait lines in the airport. Among Millennials, this figure doubles to more than one quarter (28 percent) noting they have missed a flight in the past year.
- Among those whose airport arrival time is influenced by security lines, nearly half (48 percent) say they typically arrive 1.5 hours to two hours ahead of their flight time. This figure is even higher for Boomers (53 percent).
- Despite their frustration with long security lines at the airport, nearly two-thirds of consumers (62 percent) agree or strongly agree that they are happier/more personally fulfilled because they've traveled in the past 12 months. This is even higher for consumers with children at home (74 percent).