More than half of Australian travellers book flights with price as their primary consideration according to Kayak.com.au. Only a third see flight times as a big deal with frequent flyer points relegated to a very minor consideration, with about one in eight of us considering them a major factor in booking flights. Interestingly, we're not big on creating a travel budget when we're away according to their research.
Kayak.com.au found that while price was a major factor in choosing flights, just 51% prepare a rough holiday budget. And earning frequent flyer points, which can go a long way to offsetting the cost of future flights or upgrades, is barely on the radar.
The Aussie Must Haves travel survey found that when preparing for a summer holiday, over a fifth of respondents expect their household to spend between $1,501 and $3,000. The same amount expect their household to spend between $3,001 and $7,500 on a summer holiday.
Having just returned from a three-week overseas family holiday, some what the survey found does resonate. With part of our trip, the focus was on two things - price and a "decent" airline. I've had some pretty bad experience with the local low-cost carriers so I was prepared to pay a little more to avoid them (cough...Jetstar...cough). But for one of the legs, which was to a smaller town in the US, it was all about flight times which meant flying to the nearest big city and renting a car.
The survey also found about one-third of respondents deem a well-suited time and date departure as an important factor with direct flights (24%) and having luggage included in the flight fare (19%) also important.
The luggage issue is an interesting one. On my recent trip, I made a point of asking the travel agent whether all our luggage was covered. As it happened, despite their assurances, I was slugged US$25 per bag on one flight. I complained later that promises had been made and was reimbursed but on a multi-leg trip, luggage fees can be a hidden slug that can mount up to a significant amount of money quickly.
In my calculations, acquiring more frequent flyer points wasn't a major factor. But, I rack up quite a few with my usual work-related travel so if I need them I already have them just through my normal activities.
What are the key factors for you when booking a holiday that involves air travel? Are loyalty program points a big deal? Or is all about getting to your destination as cheaply as possible?