The Ultimate Guide to UK Airline Passengers

We asked our panel of UK consumers their opinion of budget airlines; what their flying habits are; and what their hints and tips are for a good flight.

Discover the behaviour of your consumer, not just where they book their flights, what deals they look for, what attracts them to one airline brand over another. But get to know your customer, see what annoys them when it comes to airline travel, how they prepare for a flight; gain insight into their behaviour on-board, and how they approach flights and jetlag.

Budget Airlines:

Budget airlines are one of those things a consumer always seems perceive negatively, it’s all about the cheap price as they arrive to the flight expecting the worst. We surveyed our panel to find out what it is about cheap flights that really grinds their gears, what really annoys them to the point of not choosing a particular budget airline again.

Surprisingly looking at the Net Promoter Score of the 4 airlines in question, Ryanair was rated second best by our panel (granted they only scored -55.78) – it seems that although Ryanair get a lot of criticism on their service, they are clearly doing something right with their no-nonsense offering.


But when it comes to budget airlines, what made our panel the angriest to the point of their blood boiling, but most importantly what makes them not want to choose that airline again is the extra add-ons. Just over 35% of the panel said that the extra add-ons of a flight were the main driving factor to not going for the advertised budget airlines – as the price advertised is considerably less than you actually pay. Not just the added taxes, that we all come to expect; but luggage charges, extra carry on charges, priority charges, even extra charges to pay with a certain type of credit card.

Other things to bear in mind include the leg room, as 17.6% found themselves most irritated by the cramped conditions – even for a short flight. Similarly to the 12% who compared flying on a budget airline to being herded like cattle.

Over a quarter of the panel have paid for extra legroom previously:

The customer service of the staff, some felt that they were always treated considerably worse on a low budget flight. Standardisation of the hand luggage allowance, if you’re allowed a 55cm x 40cm carry on suitcase – keep it that way.

Your customers flying habits:

Normally you won’t hear back from a customer unless they’ve had a really bad experience and are looking for compensation, but what about all those other customers that may be trying your service for the first time, or those loyal passengers – what do they think?

11% of our panel carry a spare change of clothes with them in their hand luggage, some even carry their hair straighteners or hair dryers – but all of them have spare pants! These passengers are probably the most organised; they can survive from their carryon luggage if their suitcase is lost.

Just over 1 in every 5 of our panel members have lost a bag:

Over 40% of our panel are the early birds, the passengers that will arrive 3 hours early to check in with their correct documentation ready to board. These are the type of passengers that will book a hotel near the airport for the night before the flight to ensure they’re on time. Why do they do this? They’re the worriers, they want to know that everything is there ready to go, they’re organised, and know it’s an absolute nightmare if you miss your flight.

Only 10% of the panel have previously missed a flight:


What do our panel wear on the day of their flight? It seems the majority of our panel go for comfort, which is no surprise, the joggers and loose fitting clothes – of course with an extra jumper or blanket and an eye mask. One panel member even brings a flannel to cool down on long stuffy flights.

When it came to the actual flight, surprisingly only 23% said they spend the flight asleep. Most of the panel liked to keep themselves occupied as they either struggled to sleep or found it hard to relax. 13% of the panel said they hated flying, in comparison to the 7% that actually looked forward to the flight.

On board entertainment is hugely important to the majority of our panel, most popular for our panel was reading on board, 32% of the panel said they spent the majority of their flight reading a book or magazine. Closely followed by on board movies, with 29% preferring to just watch films as they find it keeps them occupied for the longest. Only 13% would drink alcohol on the flight, however a surprisingly low number would go for the aboard food – especially on lower cost airlines, as the food was perceived as not worth the very expensive cost.
Tips our panel follow:

  1. Adjust to the time zone of the area you are flying to, perhaps on board reminders of what the time is at the location you are flying to and when would be appropriate to sleep to help combat jetlag.
  2. The old hard boiled sweets trick, complementary sweets on board for those passengers that suffer through the takeoff and landing.
  3. Get into the bar before your flight and have a few drinks to calm down, making the journey as leisurely as possible – it seems a number associated drinking beforehand with being able to sleep for longer on the plane.
  4. Bring ear plugs to help you concentrate, as we all know flights can be busy and noisy, maybe offer a pair of ear plugs with each seat.
  5. To eat before the flight, so you do not have to face to airline food. Airline food has a notoriously bad name amongst our panel; perhaps the menu needs a fresh look.
  6. Relax! How relaxing is a flight? How could you possibly make it the most relaxing experience for the passenger?