While air travel etiquette – or lack thereof – is a frequent topic of conversation among travelers, there are myriad more common travel scenarios warranting discussion about how best to resolve or defuse a situation.
In a recent survey, Travel Leaders Group asked Americans how they would handle uncomfortable – yet fairly common – travel dilemmas such as tipping hotel and resort bellman and maids, saving unoccupied beach chairs at resorts, and bringing kids to adult-only pools at resorts and hotels, along with vying for overhead storage bin space on airlines. The series of "What would you do?" travel dilemma questions were part of a survey conducted from April 6th to April 28th, 2014, and includes responses from 2,719 consumers throughout the United States.
"Our 'What would you do?' questions have yielded some very intriguing responses over the past two years – and this year is no different," said Travel Leaders Group CEO Barry Liben.
"For example, with airplane overhead bin space at a premium it may surprise some that nearly 75 percent of survey participants insist they try to get as close to their assigned seat as possible before placing their carry-on in the overhead space. Resort-goers have a low tolerance for others who save beach chairs and then leave them unoccupied – over 66 percent of those polled said their limit would be two hours or less before they seized the unoccupied chair. Children at adult-only pools prompted a wide variety of responses."
Liben said some of the questions in the survey may seem humorous but can have a real impact on one's overall travel experience.
"Since there's no official playbook or handbook on proper travel etiquette, this survey – along with the sage advice from our professional travel agents – can assist travelers so they are able to face these uncomfortable travel scenarios with confidence," he said.
Key statistics and findings
Question: "If you were on vacation at a hotel or resort and someone 'saved' a beach chair yet was nowhere in sight, how long would you wait before taking that chair if no others were available?"
Less than 1 hour - 24.1%
1 hour - 28.7%
2 hours - 13.8%
3 hours – 2.5%
4 hours – 1.2%
More than 4 hours – 29.8%
Question: "If a bellman at a hotel/resort grabbed your luggage and started taking it to your car/cab or room without you asking for assistance, would you still tip the bellman?"
Yes, the usual amount I would normally tip – 48.8%
Yes, but less than the usual amount I would normally tip – 32.4%
No, I wouldn't tip because I didn't ask for assistance – 18.8%
Question: "Tipping maid service at hotels is increasingly common and the norm in many destinations. When staying at a hotel or resort, do you tip the maid service?"
Yes, every day regardless of the length of my stay – 35.0%
Yes, but only if I'm staying more than 1 night – 17.6%
Yes, but only if I'm staying more than 2 nights – 21.1%
I never tip the maid service – 26.3%
Question: "If you were enjoying an adult-only pool at a hotel or resort and another guest brought their child/children into that pool area, what would you do?"
Alert the hotel/resort staff only if the child/children are disruptive – 27.8%
Alert the hotel/resort staff regardless, because it is adult-only – 27.2%
I would do nothing; it wouldn't bother me a bit – 18.2%
I would do nothing but hope someone else would address the situation – 11.6%
Say something to the parent(s) only if the child/children are disruptive – 9.5%
Say something to the parent(s) regardless of their child/children's actions because it is adult-only – 5.7%
Question: "When staying at a hotel or resort, if there are loud noises coming from the room next door (or above/below your room), what would you do?"
I would call the front desk and ask that they deal with the issue – 87.5%
I would do nothing – 8.9%
I would bang on the wall/floor/ceiling to get the message across - 1.9%
I would call that room and directly ask the individual(s) to be quiet – 1.4%
I would be as loud as I could to get the message across – 0.2%
Question: "Many hotels and resorts indicate they are trying to conserve water and energy and ask guests to consider reusing their towels. Do you ..."
Always try to reuse towels – 49.8%
Sometimes throw the towels on the floor and sometimes reuse towels – 38.8%
Always throw the towels on the floor – 11.4%
Question: "When flying, if you were concerned about overhead bin space for your carry-on bag in the area where your seat is located, would you place it near the front of the plane as soon as you got on?"
I'd at least try to get as close to my assigned row as possible – 74.8%
I'd go all the way to my assigned row and then ask the flight attendant for assistance – 20.9%
Absolutely! – 4.3%
(This is the sixth consecutive year for the consumer travel survey. Visit Travel Leaders Group at www.travelleadersgroup.com)