Study: American Travelers Are More Frugal On Short Flights

We all know what it’s like to get hungry on a trip or need a bit of extra space, but a new study says travelers are less likely to dip into their wallets on short flights, and would rather spend on airline food, drinks, and roomier seats if we’ll be in the air longer.

On short-haul flights, 15% of Americans are willing to fork over the dough for a full meal, compared with 26% of travelers worldwide. In comparison, 45% of Chinese travelers are cool with paying for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, a survey from Expedia of more than 11,000 travelers from 22 countries

But once a flight clocks in at seven to 12 hours, Americans can no longer tough things out and are willing to pay for extra legroom, or a sandwich, or an adult beverage (or two): 49% of U.S. travelers say they’re willing pay for that meal, 55% spend on extra legroom, and 28% are willing to part with their cash for an alcoholic drink.

Which makes sense — I can survive two hours without a snack but you ask me to wait to eat for eight hours and I will not be a pleasant seatmate.

Canadians are among the most frugal, with only 43% willing to pay for an entire meal on a long flight, 39% for extra legroom, and 13% for a drink.

“Americans enjoy in-flight extras, but not at the expense of their pocketbooks,” said Dave McNamee, Expedia travel expert. “This study found Americans want amenities; however, whether they take advantage of them often depends on the length of time spent without them.”