A study commissioned by British Airways brings out interesting travel habits of UAE travellers which may also be labelled as surprising or strange depending on your preferences: travel consultants take note.
56 per cent of adults in the UAE admit they always go through the same habits and rituals to ensure their journey and holiday goes to plan. Fliers also follow the same routines when it comes to the time they arrive at the airport, the food and drink they consume when on holiday and even going to the toilet before boarding.
It also emerged that 76 per cent of adults in the UAE believe they are an organised traveller, while 21 per cent admit that although they usually get everywhere on time, and with everything they need, it is a little haphazard.
Carolina Martinoli, director of brand and customer experience at British Airways, which commissioned the research to mark its multi-million pound investment in its World Traveller catering, said: “Travelling by its very nature requires people to relinquish an element of personal control, so we know it helps people to have routines in place to manage that, be that one person being in charge of the passports, getting to the airport early or being ready at the gate as soon as the flight is called.
The study, of 1,000 UAE residents, found 42 per cent leave plenty of time to check-in for their flight – getting to the airport after the desk has opened but with time to spare. To find out what kind of traveller you are, take the quiz.
An organised 55 per cent will arrive at the airport before check-in has even opened. When it comes to eating and drinking, travellers also have their own habits, with 58 per cent of residents in the UAE seeing flying as an ideal opportunity to indulge in food and drink.
42 per cent will tuck into meals, snacks and beverages as soon as it is served on board so they have finished everything when the flight attendant comes around to collect the rubbish, while almost half will hold on to at least some of it to have later in the flight.
But 66 per cent admit they often consume food and drink in the air that they wouldn’t usually have on the ground. Over 50 per cent of flyers from the UAE are more likely to eat sweets while flying and 53 per cent eat more nuts on a plane than they do on the ground.
Chocolate, fizzy drinks, cheese and biscuits are also among the foods people are more likely to eat in the air. Researchers also found many travellers follow a set routine when boarding the plane with 44 per cent always going to the toilet beforehand, even if they don’t need to.
65 percent of fliers from the UAE will head to the gate as soon as it is announced, while 29 per cent will hold back to miss the rush, without leaving it until the last minute.
It also emerged that despite having the overhead lockers, 81 per cent of travellers from the UAE will keep their passports on them during the flight while 83 per cent will keep hold of their phone.
Others will also leave their money, tablet and books/magazines in the seat pocket rather than storing it overhead. And while 39 percent of adults in the UAE will look after their own travel documents, 53 per cent of respondents say they are often put in charge of keeping hold the of the passports and tickets for everyone they are travelling with.
Martinoli concludes, “We’re delighted with the response we’ve had to the new catering. We’ve focused on introducing more quantity and quality. A four-course main meal has been developed by our team of chefs to be full of flavour at 35,000ft and we’ve created regional options depending on the route. The second meal option is either a tasty sandwich or a more substantial pizza wrap, both served with additional snacks, depending on the length of the flight.”
“Our customers have also told us they want to be able to save some items for later in the flight, so we’ve replaced the water cup with a bottle of Highland Spring on the first meal, and added snack boxes on our longest flights. ”
British Airways is investing £4.5 billion ($6.22 billion) for customers over the next five years.
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