Today, Expedia Thailand released the results of its annual 2019 Airplane and Hotel Etiquette Study, and this year, it’s clear there are definite Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to planes and hotels. A total of 601 Thai travellers who had taken an average of either 11.2 personal flights or 10.1 business flight per year were surveyed.
The global report deep dives into travelers’ preferences, behaviors and pet peeves, spanning from sea level to the stratosphere. While we all have travel horror stories to tell and social media is a perfect vehicle to vent, this year’s findings call out travelers who spread kindness and goodwill on the road.
“As much as the social media has portrayed, act of kindness is still very much valued. And not to my surprise Thai travellers, given the Thai heritage and culture, top the chart when it comes to providing various acts of kindness to fellow travellers,” said Lavinia Rajaram, APAC Head of Communications, Brand Expedia.
Goodwill up in the air
When it comes to acts of kindness, 41% of all respondents worldwide have helped someone lift their luggage into the overhead compartment and Thai travellers top the chart with 50%. But who are the travelers taking kindness most seriously?
- Americans (42%) and Taiwanese (40%) are the most willing to change their seats. Thais come in mid-way (22%), while the Dutch (21%) and Japanese (9%) are the least likely.
- The Taiwanese (11%) Japanese (13%), and Thais (15%) are the most sensitive to their neighbors, as the least likely to bring strong-smelling foods on flights. On the other hand, Indians (31%) and Americans (30%) are less likely to care.
- The most generous when it comes to illness, offering a tissue or cough drop, are Austrians (57%) and Thai (54%). Japanese (19%) and South Koreans (24%) are much less likely to lend a helping hand to a coughing or sneezing neighbor.
Had an encounter with annoying passengers?
Travelers are steering clear of alcohol to avoid being annoying in the air, with 95% reporting they wouldn’t get drunk. That’s lucky because this year, 43% of global respondents identified the drunk passenger as the most annoying person on a plane. Only 5% of global respondents reported ever getting drunk on a flight.
The top five most annoying behaviour for Thai passengers are:
- Drunk Passenger (43%)
- Germ Spreader (35%)
- Aromatic Passenger (27%)
- Seat Kicker/Bumper/Grabber (25%)
- Inattentive Parent (24%)
Standing up against bad behaviour
While being confined to an airplane seat can bring out the worst in some people, most people don’t think of using social media to deal with rude fellow travelers. When it comes to unruly plane passengers, travelers are dealing with things directly. Thai passengers definitely prefer avoiding a confrontation.
- The French (61%), followed by the Swiss (57%) and Germans (57%) are the most likely to confront seat kickers directly, while Thai travalers (41%) would ask the flight attendant to handle that conflict on their behalf.
- Thais (69%) will go directly to flight attendants when experiencing rude behaviors towards another passenger, instead of confronting the rude traveler directly (16%).
- When it comes to armrest hogging, Thais (50%) get straight to the point and would ask a passenger hogging the armrest to make room for them, coming close to the highest ranked, Austrians (60%).
We may be kind on air, but how do Thai travelers react to bad hotel etiquette?
Globally, 70% of all respondents say they would call the front desk for help if noise was an issue during their hotel stay. Thais come in higher than average at 74%. Here’s how the rest of the world responded:
- Indians (30%) are most likely to confront pool noise directly, with New Zealanders (44%) and Australians (40%) willing to take a laid-back approach and ignore it. Thais (60%), will raise the issue with the lifeguard or the hotel management instead of confronting the noise makers.
The top five most annoying guests for Thai travelers:
- Inattentive parents (42%)
- In-room revelers (36%)
- The bar boozers (31%)
- The loudly amours (27%)
- The party-goers (25%)
Vacation rental etiquette
In vacation rentals, Thais (26%) appreciate the little hospitable thoughtfulness by the hosts. They also do agree that a few things are off the table:
- Peeing in their pool (68%)
- Going through personal items (51%)
- Taking a book or a movie home (43%)
When it comes to good behavior, souvenirs seems to be the universal sign of respect among Thai travelers — 18% of Thai respondents said that they would appreciate either a small gift upon arrival. A quick in-person introduction to sights and restaurants in the area was a close second, with 26% of all Thai travelers saying this was the most appreciated thing a host could do. These results highlight that while personal contact is still greatly appreciated when it comes to good hospitality, complimentary food is the way to travelers hearts.
“We help millions of people travel every year, and it’s really important to us that everybody has the best possible experience. How we interact with each other while traveling has a huge impact on how we feel about our trip, so we like to offer some research-based tips that can help all of us spread kindness during our travels,” shared Lavinia.
If you’re traveling next, here are some basic Do’s and Don’ts to remember:
- Do lend an extra hand! If a fellow traveler appears to have their hands full, offer to help and see if there is something you can do to make their life easier. This could be as simple as assisting with heavy luggage or giving attention to a restless child.
- Most travelers are trying to achieve vacation nirvana – especially after scoring great deals on Expedia. Be polite, don’t start fights or be confrontational.
- Do be mindful of the space around you. If you think you’ll need more room to stretch out during flight, consider paying a bit extra to upgrade your seat.
- If you are sick but have to travel, don’t get others infected. Whenever possible, clean up around yourself and ask to be reseated away from fellow passengers — everybody will appreciate your efforts to keep others healthy.
- When staying in a vacation rental, do treat it like your own and respect the host. Don’t leave a mess, touch any personal belongings that may be out, or take things that don’t belong to you.
Want to learn which country’s approach to travel etiquette matches yours? Take a quick quiz at https://travelblog.expedia.co.th/airplane-etiquette-quiz/and find your preferred etiquette destination.