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Agoda’s 2023 Travel Bugbears Survey reveals top in-flight annoyances in Asia Pacific

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The survey offers an in-depth look at passengers’ in-flight grievances across Asia Pacific markets, shedding light on pet peeves such as personal space invasion and flight delays.

BANGKOK, THAILAND – With travelers across the globe raring to take off on new adventures, digital travel platform Agoda unveils a candid exploration of the less glamorous side of air travel. From overly chatty neighbors to lavatory hoggers, Agoda’s Travel Bugbears Survey 2023 delves into the realm of in-flight annoyances, highlighting that even the smoothest flight can have its bumps.

The survey, covering 10 markets across Asia, found discourteous invasion of personal space as the number one pet peeve for fliers. People from South Korea, Thailand and Taiwan are most offended by personal space invasion, be it the war on arm-rest territory or the production of bodily noises and unpleasant smells from uncovered feet.

Unsurprisingly, flight delays rank high, coming in second on the list of passengers’ grievances across Asia Pacific. The patience of travelers from the Philippines especially reaches a tipping point when it comes to flight delays as they rank it their top bugbear, a sentiment echoed by travelers from Malaysia, Indonesia, and Vietnam.

Ranking as the third biggest in-flight annoyance across the region is the presence of loud passengers, like overly chatty seatmates, couples airing out their dirty laundry in public, or raucous groups broadcasting their music or games across the entire flight. Australians and Malaysians are least sensitive to noise while Taiwan and South Korean travelers appreciate more peaceful flying experiences. Japanese, too, appreciate the peace and quiet, but also are the only market that expresses an intolerance for disruptive passengers who are rude to cabin crew as their top grievance.

For many of us, the holiday fun starts the moment we board a plane,” said Liyana Jamil, Vice President of Global Partner Services, Agoda. “But while flying is generally an enjoyable experience, it sometimes comes with minor grievances. There are over 130,000 bookable flight routes on Agoda, and I hope that the findings of this light-hearted survey create awareness, increase consideration, and make the in-flight experience on any of these routes even more enjoyable.”

Zooming in on the answers of Thai respondents. Discourteous behavior from fellow travelers is the number one bugbear for Thai travelers, with close to a quarter rating it as the prime annoyance. While flight delays come in second, travelers also express disdain for passengers who are rude to service staff or are too loud.

Agoda built its global reputation as an online booking platform for hotels and vacation homes but has seen flight bookings grow popular since the introduction of flights on the platform in 2019.

About the survey

The Agoda Travel Bugbears 2023 research was conducted by independent market research firm, YouGov, in July 2023. 12,065 respondents were interviewed online and are representative of those who have been on holiday at least once in the past year. Within their countries: Australia (1,003), India (1,005), Malaysia (1,010), Korea (1,008), Japan (1,003), Vietnam (1,008), Indonesia (2,013), Taiwan (1,003), Philippines (1,009) and Thailand (2,003).

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