Aviation, tourism and energy writer for the Business Herald

Eat, relax, enjoy say Kiwi frequent flyers

A global survey has found that New Zealanders are among the most active flyers in the world.
A global survey has found that New Zealanders are among the most active flyers in the world.

New Zealanders are among the most active flyers in the world and, according to a global survey, they are willing to pay to fly with a full stomach and are very keen to dress down.

Just on 31 per cent of Kiwis have flown five times in the past two years, above the global average of 27 per cent, says the study for online booking firm Expedia. Last year 2.41 million New Zealanders travelled, up 6 per cent on the year before.

The most active travellers are from Norway with close to half (47 per cent) of Norwegians having flown five times in the past two years, followed by 42 per cent from Mexico.

Of Australian travellers, the study found 24 per cent fit that category.

On a long-haul flight (7-12 hours), more than 62 per cent of Kiwis said they would be willing to pay extra for a full meal (breakfast, lunch or dinner) over any other amenity.

A seat with extra leg room was the second priority, chosen by 44 per cent of Kiwi respondents, followed by in-flight entertainment at 38 per cent.

Globally, a full meal was consistently selected as the amenity flyers would be most likely to pay for across flight durations. Australia and Canada were the top two nations most unwilling to pay for in-flight extras across different flight lengths.

Kiwis dress down for flights with 91 per cent of respondents saying they dress for comfort and don't care how they look. When asked how they spend a long-haul flight over 10 hours, 80 per cent said sleep, followed by eating (71 per cent), in-flight entertainment (69 per cent ) and reading (64 per cent).

Fifty-one per cent said they would walk around the cabin versus a global average of less than third (31 per cent).

Asked what they couldn't do without on a plane, the global respondents listed water, a meal, a phone/mobile device, headphones and magazines or newspapers. Kiwis also rated water as the number one item they couldn't do without (58 per cent), followed by a meal (40 per cent), headphones (30 per cent), phone/mobile device (29 per cent) and a physical book (21 per cent). Travellers from Mexico, South Korea and Thailand considered a mobile device more essential than water.

While close to two-thirds (64 per cent) of Kiwi flyers say they avoid baggage fees at all costs, they were among those least likely to let excess baggage fees affect how they pack.

The survey was conducted by Northstar in 22 countries among 11,026 adults who have flown in a plane in the past two years.

- NZ Herald

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