Survey Says Wealthy Air Travelers Unhappier

Air travelers have been feeling increasingly unhappy about the service they get from U.S. carriers, and a new survey suggests wealthy passengers are the most disappointed of all.

According to an online survey released last week by Connecticut marketing research firm PhoCusWright, fliers with annual household incomes of $100,000 or more are nearly twice as likely as travelers from households making less than $50,000 a year to have negative feelings toward their airline.

In other words, business travelers and affluent fliers – who presumably spend more on airline flights – feel they are not getting their money's worth when flying.

"When you spend that much money, you have higher expectations," Carroll Rheem, the firm's research director, tells the Los Angeles Times. "There is definitely a connection between price points and satisfaction."

"Passengers are not happy," she continues, citing the fact that travelers "are being charged for things they didn't pay for before," and are now forced to pay to check bags, get seats with more legroom, and receive meals, among other add-on fees.

Dubbed "Heat from the Middle Seat," the survey of 1,559 people says 32% of fliers with incomes of more than $100,000 had somewhat negative of very negative sentiments toward airlines. On the other hand, only 17% of fliers with incomes of less than $50,000 felt similar.

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