Air travel may not be getting worse, but that doesn’t mean we have to be happy about it. At least, that’s what the results of a new survey seem to indicate. According to the 2018 UK Aviation Consumer survey, fewer people are satisfied with both the in-flight experience and traveling as a whole, despite the fact that very few people think it is getting worse.

This survey is the fifth of its kind for the Civil Aviation Authority, and involved 3,500 respondents, and has a margin of error of about 1.7%. The questions asked covered a number of topics, such as pricing, security, convenience, and overall experience.


Overall, the number of respondents who say that are satisfied with their journey overall has fallen from 90% to 83% in the last two years. At the same time, the number of people who were satisfied with the in-flight experience fell from 81% to 77%.

But despite the fact that satisfaction levels have fallen, the vast majority of respondents do not think that traveling by air has actually gotten any worse. 53% of respondents said they think that the quality of air travel has stayed about the same, while 29% said they think it is improving. Just 14% of people asked said they believe the experience is worse now than it was before.

Interestingly, the questions regarding safety & security at the airport received some of the most positive responses. 74% of people surveyed said that they felt confident in the safety and security of airports and planes in the UK, with just 8% saying they did not. And despite all the inconvenience it may cause, 61% of people believe that airport security has struck the right balance between security and convenience. Of the 14% who disagree, 68% believe security restrictions are too tough, while 22% believe there should be more.

It is worth noting that the two areas that received the most positive responses are the process of booking the flight, and traveling to and from the airport, both of which are outside of the airline’s control. The two aspects that received the most complaints were the experience of being in the airport and, ironically but not surprisingly, the handling of complaints.