2b Or Not 2B: easyJet Shares Cool #PaxEx Stats

Leading European Low-Cost Carrier easyJet has just released a series of interesting factoids on the travel preferences of their customers which I found interesting enough to share here.

It makes me wonder how many of these facts also apply to passengers world-wide.

Have a look at what they have to say, and, wherever you are, share whether they apply to you too.

EASYJET AIRCRAFT PHOTOGRAPHED FROM THE CONTROL TOWER AT GATWICK AIRPORT...PIX.TIM ANDERSON..easyJet Media Centre
EASYJET AIRCRAFT PHOTOGRAPHED FROM THE CONTROL TOWER AT GATWICK AIRPORT…PIX.TIM ANDERSON..easyJet Media Centre

From the easyJet Press Office (polls embedded and emphasis by Flight Chic):

Window or aisle? Front or back? With millions set to jet off this summer easyJet has revealed the most popular places to sit on the plane.

The UK’s largest airline polled 10,000 passengers from countries across Europe on their seat preference and found that nationality, age and travel companion all play an important factor in where passengers prefer to sit.

Universally the window is the most coveted position, with 59% of participants preferring this seat, followed by the aisle at 38%. easyJet sales also reveal the right hand side of the plane is more popular than the left and rows 6-7 sell out fastest.

There is a ‘squeezed middle’ in aviation but just 3% of people across Europe prefer the middle seat – usually after letting their partner take the window or aisle.  easyJet sales reveal 7F is Europe’s favourite seat and 19C is the least popular. Row 7 is the first in the aircraft available to allocate from £3.

  • Portuguese are the most passionate about sitting by the window (80% prefer it)

  • Dutch (48%) and German are the nationalities most likely to choose the aisle

  • Under 25’s are most keen to sit by window (76%) with passengers increasingly opting for the aisle as they get older

  • UK travellers do everything  possible to avoid the middle with 56% preferring the window and 41% opting for the aisle

Commentary from passengers revealed more inquisitive or nervous travellers are likely to choose the window for the view and to observe what’s happening en route. Younger travellers also prefer the window for photo opportunities of the scenery and wing mid-flight.

Travellers selecting the aisle seat value their space and the ability to move around during the flight. It was particularly favoured by older passengers, business travellers and people with a second home keen to disembark first.

Peter Duffy, Group Commercial Director for easyJet, said:

“The window versus aisle debate is one of the most frequently overheard conversations while flying. Since introducing allocated seating in 2012, all easyJet passengers have been able to select their seat and by combining that data with feedback from thousands of travellers we’ve mapped out the most popular parts of the plane.

“It is clear that no matter where you live having the ability to choose your seat is important and is something that our customers value. The window is overwhelmingly the most coveted position, but particularly popular amongst Portuguese passengers and people aged 25 or under. As passengers get older the aisle becomes increasingly popular and it is also a sought after seat for frequent flyers travelling on business or visiting their second home.”

According to the results you are most likely to find:

  • In the window seat: Female passengers aged 25 or under from Portugal and Czech Republic
  • In the middle seat: Passengers aged between 45 and 54
  • In the aisle seat: Male passengers aged 65 or over from Holland and Germany

All passengers are allocated a seat for free on easyJet’s flights but also have the choice of selecting their seat for a fee. easyJet uses one of the most sophisticated algorithms in aviation and seats the whole aircraft using a complex formula in less than 1 second. Passengers or families travelling together on the same booking will be seated together wherever possible.

More data from the survey:

  • Under 35 are much more likely to say they prefer the window seat (U25s, 76%; 25-34s, 67%), while the 45s and over are more likely to prefer the aisle seat (45-54, 41%; 55-64, 40%; 65+ 47%)
  • Females are more likely to prefer the window seat (62% versus 59% overall) and men the aisle seat (41% versus 38% overall)
  • The window seat is the popular choice among the Portuguese (80%), Czechs (67%) and French (66%). The Dutch (48%), German (42%) and UK travellers (41%) are more likely to choose the aisle seat
  • Short breakers (65%) and passengers connecting to another flight (64%) have a stronger preference for the window seat. And, unsurprisingly, business trippers (46%, closely followed by second homers 44%) are more likely to opt for an aisle seat

Quotes from passengers regarding their seat choice:

On the window seat:

  • “I like to look out at everything as we fly along, and take photos of any best bits.”
  •  “Because I don’t move from my seat when flying and don’t like to be disturbed by other passengers needing out to the toilet.”
  • “I like looking out of the window and watching the clouds!”
  • “I like to sleep so to have some where to rest my head helps”

On the aisle seat:

  • “So you can stretch your legs out, walk around and go to the toilet as much as you want without disturbing the people who are sitting next to you.”
  • “Feels more spacious, ease of access to toilet & speed to get of plane at other end”

On the middle seat:

 

  • “We travel as a couple and my husband likes aisle seat and I prefer the middle.”
  • “My wife likes the aisle and I like sitting next to her”

UK regional breakdown of seat preference:

NORTH EAST ENGLAND NORTH WEST ENGLAND NORTHERN IRELAND SCOTLAND SOUTH EAST ENGLAND SOUTH WEST ENGLAND THE MIDLANDS
Window seat 60% 60% 56% 55% 54% 60% 59%
Aisle seat 35% 37% 40% 43% 43% 35% 40%
Middle seat 5% 3% 3% 2% 3% 5% 1%


NBB from Flight Chic:
If we believe the percentages above, and these samples are in any way representative of a global passenger preference, we’re designing cabins COMPLETELY the wrong way.  It would explain how we manage to disappoint such a large percentage of the flying public.  Can’t see how we’d fix that and maintain sustainable load factors.  Any ideas?  Could we design herringbone seating for coach which runs nested down the whole of the cabin?

Please contribute your own way-out ideas below:  

Featured Image, Aerodynamic Sharklets, easyJet Media Centre

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