Satisfaction level of air travelersPassengers' satisfaction with the airport experience dropped sharply between 2020 and 2022. While 81 percent of passengers had reported being very or fairly satisfied in 2020, the share of passengers reporting being satisfied in 2022 had dropped by ten percentage points to 71 percent. Satisfaction with the value for money of flying decreased from 77 to 76 percent in previous years to 68 percent in 2022. The drop in air travel satisfaction has accompanied an increase in travel disruptions. Staff shortages at airlines, airports, and in the UK's border force, along with strike action, have led to problems with delayed and canceled flights, long queues and crowding in airports, and difficulties with luggage handling. The share of passengers not experiencing disruption fell to only 38 percent, down from 65 percent in 2020.
While overall satisfaction with the experience of flying has decreased, the confidence in the safety of UK airlines and airports, which had dropped to only around 66 percent of passengers feeling safe, has returned to pre-pandemic levels. This is likely due to less worry among travelers about catching COVID-19 while flying.
The cost of living crisis is affecting air travelCOVID-19 and travel disruption are no longer the only concerns of the airline industry. The UK has been experiencing a cost of living crisis since late 2021. While inflation has been driving up consumer prices by over ten percent, wages have not kept up with rising prices. So while consumers have been experiencing decreased disposable income, airfares have been rising, jumping by 28 percent between 2021 and 2022.
Nearly a quarter of respondents to the most recent iteration of the Civil Aviation Authority's aviation consumer survey indicated that they would fly less often in the upcoming 12 months than planned due to rising living costs. Meanwhile, the share of respondents who reported that they had not flown due to cost in the previous twelve months rose to 29 percent in 2022, compared to 17 percent in 2021. However, this is a return to a comparable level of consumers not flying due to cost, as in the years immediately prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the economic uncertainty, revenue in the UK's air transport sector is projected to grow in the next years, reaching 54 billion US dollars in 2027.