U.S.-U.K. travel could suffer a setback, TripAdvisor study shows

In the immediate aftermath of the foiled London bomb plot, a TripAdvisor survey of 1,200 travelers showed that nearly half of the respondents, 47%, said they would avoid U.S.-U.K. travel over the next two months in light of the terrorist threat.

A few days later, in collaboration with Travel Weekly, TripAdvisor asked a related set of questions to gauge the public mood. More than 1,200 travelers were surveyed on Aug. 15 and 16, and this time, a slightly larger majority, 57%, said they would not avoid U.S.-U.K. travel, while 43% said they would avoid it.

The survey data also suggest that while the hassle factor is much in the news, it is not an absolute deterrent for the vast majority of travelers. When asked if they would postpone travel to other destinations because of the additional security precautions at U.S. airports, 82.2% said no, and 17.8% said they would defer a trip.

However, for some travelers, the hassle factor seems to a bigger deterrent than terrorism itself.

Nearly two-thirds of travelers, 64.1%, said they don't plan to avoid traveling for any reason, but of the remainder, airport hassles loomed larger than the threat of terrorism did.

Only 15.4% said they were more likely to avoid travel because of terrorism fears, whereas 20.6% said they didn't want to deal with long lines and airport security.

The survey also revealed a potential marketing problem for U.S. carriers. It has not been lost on travelers that U.S. airlines seem to have been the primary targets.

Just over half, 52.2% said they have "some concerns about traveling on U.S. air carriers internationally but will not change any of my plans."

However, 14.3% said they won't travel internationally on U.S. carriers, and 6.7% said they would avoid U.S. carriers on routes from the U.K.

A little more than a quarter of respondents, 26.8%, said they had "no concerns" about using U.S. airlines.

Respondents were from a TripAdvisor traveler panel who were invited via e-mail to participate in the online survey. TripAdvisor said participants had traveled on at least one personal or leisure trip in the past year and planned to take at least one personal leisure trip within the next year.


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