Which? Holiday’s Head of Research, Rochelle Turner, replies to a criticism of our airline survey. Why do we only ask typical British holiday makers about their journeys, rather than frequent fliers?
A member of the public – let’s call him Pete – recently wrote to us about the results of our 2008 survey.
He complained that we didn’t question frequent fliers, adding that all respondents were likely to be ‘typical British holiday makers’.
Why regular holiday makers count
Well, yes, that was indeed the case in 2008 and is also the case with our just published 2010 survey results. We surveyed regular people who have regular hopes about the service they receive when booking, checking in and while on board the aircraft. These are also people who pay for their flights out of their own (regular) salaries, rather than relying on company credit cards.
The complaint also said that the people responding would be ‘unable to make valid comparisons between the airlines’. Well, we didn’t ask people to make comparisons between the airlines on their own; we look at all the data to do that ourselves.
How we research and compare airlines
This is why we must have a minimum of 30 people who have experience of an airline before we will report on it. And everyone who answers our survey must have flown within the previous 12 months to ensure the experience is fresh in their minds. We let the statistics do the rest.
Yes, those flying more frequently have something interesting to say about the flights they take, but they may also have different priorities to those of British holiday makers. Entertainment will be less of an issue, whereas the airline lounge may be essential, for example.
Sorry Pete, but as one of the largest surveys of its kind, it’s best viewed as one that will help leisure travellers choose the best airline for their journey.