Travel chaos shakes travellers' confidence: survey

84 per cent of British Columbians say they fear flight delays, lost bags

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Travellers line up at Vancouver International Airport | Chung Chow

Travel chaos that gripped travellers at airports around the world last summer, and resurfaced during the holiday season has made potential tourists wary of taking trips, according to a new survey by the British Columbia Automobile Association (BCAA).

Its BCAA Travel Confidence Survey, conducted as a non-random internet survey done by polling firm Leger, found 84 per cent of the 1,000 people surveyed said that they were concerned about flight delays, lost bags and other headaches, while 83 per cent were concerned about staffing at airlines and airports. 

Other common responses included fears about increasing difficulty in getting refunds from airlines for cancelled trips (86 per cent) and apprehension about the impact of severe weather (76 per cent.)

It is unclear how concerned those travellers were about travel glitches one year ago because BCAA's 2022 Travel Confidence Survey asked different questions – ones related largely to COVID-19.

This year's survey found that 77 per cent of B.C. residents plan to travel on a vacation this spring and summer, while 40 per cent said they plan to fly to get where they are going. 

Higher interest rates and inflation appear to be taking a bite out of people's disposable income, as 89 per cent of British Columbians said that they are watching travel costs closely, while 55 per cent said high costs are making them less likely to travel.

BCAA's survey found that 75 per cent of survey respondents said that they were more likely to buy trip-cancellation insurance, while 62 per cent were more likely to get travel-related medical insurance than they were last year. 

Snowy weather caused airlines to cancel dozens of flights at Vancouver International Airport in November. Similar severe weather nearing Christmas caused countless passengers to have to wait on planes on the tarmac at the airport for more than 10 hours – something Vancouver Airport Authority CEO Tamara Vrooman called "unacceptable."

gkorstrom@biv.com

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