British Airways poll finds Israeli airline passengers are more tolerant than Europeans

Israelis do like to shop, though.

By MAYA SPITZER
March 29, 2009 00:34
3 minute read.
British Airways poll finds Israeli airline passengers are more tolerant than Europeans

EL AL plane 1 248 88. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski )

 
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Despite their stereotypical image of having short tempers, Israeli travelers are more tolerant airline passengers than their European counterparts. This was one of the more interesting findings of a survey commissioned by British Airways on passenger travel habits in Israel and Europe. Israelis were also found to typically spend less time packing for their trips than European passengers, but arrive much earlier at the airport for flights - apparently to shop. "Israelis tend to leave the packing for the last moment, with 26 percent of the passengers packing on the actual day of the flight," the British Airways survey said. In contrast, only 4% to 11% of Europeans "leave packing to the last moment." Israelis do like to shop, though. "The desire for duty free shopping is the number one reason" a large majority (66%) of Israelis say they prefer to arrive early for flights, according to the survey. Yael Katan, country commercial manager of British Airways in Israel, said she "was not at all surprised by this statistic. Israelis really like to buy. I used to be a flight attendant, and I remember that Israelis always bought more duty free than people of other nationalities." Israelis were found to be scared of long security lines, but Katan sought to assure them that "they don't have to worry about at [Heathrow's] Terminal 5. In Tel Aviv, security takes longer because security standards in Israel are more stringent, as they take time to investigate every passenger." Only 6% of Israelis arrive at the airport with only 90 minutes to spare before departure, the survey said. French and Italians were not found to be lured by duty free shopping in the same way, and almost half of those polled arrive at the airport with only 90 minutes until their flights. This is a "clear cultural difference," said Katan, who contended that in Israel "the attitude is to leave everything to the last minute, not just packing. There is less planning ahead here than in other countries. Everything is so fragile economically, politically, Israelis are accustomed to thinking on their feet." The vast majority of passengers in Europe and Israel find their seats being kicked in-flight the most disturbing aspect of air travel. Parents' not attending to their children is the second highest irritant to Israelis is according to survey findings, and ranked high for many European countries as well. In order to diminish this annoyance, "British Airways is doing the utmost to entertain passengers, with personal video screens with on-demand capacity, and activity packs to occupy kids." The random survey of 3,200 passengers who have flown British Airways in the past 12 months was conducted in Israel by Mutagim, and in Europe by YouGov in nine countries. including Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Netherlands, France, Norway, Italy, Sweden and Denmark. British Airways commissioned the survey to commemorate the opening of Terminal 5 last March, which initially experienced a tremulous period, beset by "absolute havoc with flight cancellations and bags lost,"x the impetus to conduct such a review, according to Irit Foerster, press agent for British Airways. "In order to mark the upcoming first anniversary of Terminal 5, British Airways' new home at Heathrow, we wanted to know a little more about the habits of passengers in Israel and in Europe, and see whether the new facilities at Terminal 5 meet their travel demands," said Katan. Now having overcome the initial bumps in the road, "Terminal 5 works like magic. Check in takes less than 10 minutes, facilitated by self-service kiosks and fast bag drop counter," said Foerster. Since its doors opened last March, 19 million passengers on 140,000 flights have used British Airways' new Terminal 5 facilities, according to British Airways statistics. Some 60,000 to 70,000 passengers pass through the gates of Terminal 5 daily on around 480 flights, en route to over 95 different locations. "British Airways is a key player," in the Israeli airline industry, said Katan, "and solidly committed to the Israeli market." The oldest airline operating in Israel, British Airways has been flying to Israel since 1931. Imperial Airways, the predecessor of British Airways before a 1970s' merger created the modern British Airways corporation, "used to land on the Kinneret. How's that for a funny fact?" mused Katan. The airline this month announced the addition of another weekly flight starting in June from Tel Aviv to London to supplement its 14 weekly flights currently operating along that route.

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