Meetings & Conventions: Planner's Portfolio August
By Loren G. Edelstein
IS THE WAIT REALLY OVER?
Most travelers are getting to the airport too early&Why
we’re so tired after a vacation
Waiting at the gate. Air travelers generally
are moving smoothly through the nation’s airports, according to a
study conducted in late June by the online booking site
Travelocity. Nearly 82 percent of travelers still get to the
airport more than an hour before departure, but 59 percent find
they usually need just 30 minutes or less to get from curb to
Among other findings:
• More than 61 percent of travelers say it
generally takes less than 15 minutes to go through security
checkpoints. About one-third find the process takes 15 to 30
• Many travelers seem unaware of the fastest
ways to get through the airport. More than half who do not check
luggage still wait at the check-in counter when they likely could
go straight to the gate. • Worries about security
at U.S. airports have leveled off, with about 78 percent of
respondents “somewhat” or “not at all” concerned.
• Eight out of 10 respondents at least somewhat
agree that U.S. airport security has improved and that most
security measures in place are reasonable. However, about 72
percent say security isn’t entirely consistent from airport to
• Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C.,
ranks best in terms of short waits. Seventy-three percent of
travelers who flew through Reagan National spent less than 30
minutes to get to their departure gate. Nearly as speedy: Austin,
Texas; Orange County, Calif.; Providence, R.I.; Sacramento, Calif.;
and San Jose, Calif.
• The worst-ranking airport is Denver
International, where 93 percent find it takes more than an hour to
make it to the gate. Expect similar waits in Baltimore; Oakland,
Calif.; Boston; Nashville; and Newark, N.J.
Less angst at baggage claim. Incidents of mishandled baggage on
domestic flights of the 10 largest U.S. airlines dropped to their
lowest level in at least 14 years, according to the U.S. Department
of Transportation. In May, the airlines reported 3.32 mishandled
bags per 1,000 passengers, the lowest rate since the DOT began
tracking the number in September 1987.
Some speculate the change is related to the new requirement, as
of Jan. 18, that airlines match every bag to a boarded
The news might not provide much comfort for flyers on American
Eagle, however, which posted the worst rate for May, at 8.54
mishandled bags per 1,000 passengers.
Wiped out from vacation? You’re in good company. A survey by the
Gallup Organization found that more than half (54 percent) of
Americans return home from vacations tired. Of those, one in five
claim they are either “very tired” or “exhausted.”
The survey of 1,000 travelers, commissioned by
Sanofi-Synthelabo, a global health-care company based in Paris,
pointed to poor planning, later bedtimes and unfamiliar or
uncomfortable accommodations as some of the reasons we come home
Even before leaving, travelers set themselves up for fatigue,
the survey found.
• Most respondents (56 percent) pack the night
before or the day of the trip. In the scramble to get ready, nearly
one-third go to bed at least two hours later than normal.
• On the morning of the trip, 54 percent wake
up earlier than usual.
• Of respondents with jobs, 36 percent find
they need to work harder or put in longer hours before going on
vacation. Twenty-six percent lose sleep because of this increased
Sleep habits during vacation exacerbate the weariness.
• Most travelers stay up later than normal
while away. In fact, 22 percent of those taking trips of 10 to 14
days go to bed later nearly every night.
• The type of trip planned is also a key
factor. Those who take a cruise generally return home “well rested”
(30 percent), while respondents who visit family for vacation are
most likely to say they’re “exhausted” (12 percent).
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