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Release Date: 05/04/2010

Luggage Charges Top Consumer Reports’ Survey of Travel Gripes

Rudeness among top complaints of 24 airline, hotel, and rental-car complaints in  Consumer Reports’ national survey

01COVERusnews062K10(2) YONKERS, NY — Travelers have many reasons to be annoyed, but what bugs them most are luggage charges and add-on airline ticket fees, according to a survey by Consumer Reports.
Travelers were also very annoyed by rude or unhelpful staff, whether at airlines, hotels, or rental-car companies.

In a nationally representative survey conducted in January, Consumer Reports asked 2,000 Americans to score three lists of travel gripes covering rental-cars, airlines, and hotels for a total of 24 items on a 1-to-10 scale, 1 meaning an experience “does not annoy you at all” and 10 meaning it “annoys you tremendously.”
Luggage charges (8.4 overall) and added airline ticket fees (8.1), top the list, but rude or unhelpful staff at rental-car companies (7.9), hotels (7.8) and airlines (7.7) were also among the more annoying things that rub Americans the wrong way while traveling.

The complete report on how Americans ranked all 24 annoyances is available in the June issue of Consumer Reports on sale May 4, and online at

Among the highlights:

Poor communication about airline delays (7.1) annoyed people slightly more than the delays themselves (6.8).

Airline travelers who hog your seat (7.0) and carry-on space (6.7) are less annoying that some other irritants. Many people give crying babies and unruly kids (4.9) on planes a pass and have apparently gotten used to puny or no airline snacks, (5.1) and long lines for security and check-in (5.2).

Women travelers are somewhat more annoyed than men. Among complaints for which the gender gap was sufficient: pricey in-room hotel snacks (6.8 women, 5.2 men); insufficient or chintzy hotel bedding (7.2 women, 6.2 men), and high pressure pitches for extra rental-car coverage or upgrades (7.1 women, 6.0 men).

Some gripes, annoyed respondents under age 50 much more than those 50 and older. Those included rude or unhelpful airline staff (8.6 under 50, 8.0 50 or older), rental-car pitches (6.8 under 50, 6.1 50 or older), and absence of the ordered car (6.5 under 50, 5.4 50 and older), However, older folks are far more ticked off than younger people by those unruly kids on planes (4.5 under 50, 5.3 50 and older).

The Consumer Reports National Research Center conducted a telephone survey of a nationally representative probability sample of telephone households.  2,000 interviews were completed among adults aged 18+.  Interviewing took place from January 21-25.  The margin of error is +/- 2% points at a 95% confidence level.

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