How Typical Are You: The CWT Traveler Barometer

By Robert McGarvey

An infographic via Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT) gives us a quick, easy way to measure just how typical we are.  Granted, frequent flyers, as a tribe, have shared idiosyncrasies – a strong fondness for lots of accessible plugs in a hotel room and, always, a desk in the room – but then there are datapoints where I have to scratch my head and wonder who are these people?

CWT starts out with a softball – 9 of 10 travelers are willing to share travel preferences. You have to wonder about the 10% who decline. Too busy to bother? OK, that makes a kind of sense to me.  But if it’s just preferring to be private, nah, that seems dumb to me. Whenever I have the time I provide travel preferences just to get what I want on the record and I will do this free of charge. If you want to know my preferences in banking, in mobile payments, in computing, bring a checkbook or at least an Amazon gift card. That’s info I charge for but when it comes to travel and the pains I feel, ask and I’ll tell because I am hoping for more comfort as payback.

Here are the salient CWT datapoints:

66% of travelers prefer a window seat.  Do you?

I do not. I strongly prefer an aisle seat and will grumble, loudly, if put in a window seat. Why? I have written often about deep vein thrombosis and air travel and swear by the advice to walk every hour.  Climbing over two fellow travelers to exit from a window seat is rude and, well, who does it except in an emergency?  Sitting on the aisle, tho, I get up pretty much every hour and walk up and back, maybe a couple times.

Perhaps I am paranoid about DVT.  Perhaps. But this is a better safe than sorry choice and for me, the aisle seat is the ticket.  And it is very good news in my mind that most of you want the window seat. Take it, it’s yours.

Per CWT, btw, “Window proponents like control of the window shade, a fuselage on which to rest their sleeping head and ample opportunity to fill their Instagram feed with obligatory shots of the plane wing in the clouds.”

64% of travelers prefer ground transportation vs. public transport.  

I do not. In San Francisco I’m on the BART.  In Phoenix, I light rail home. At Newark Airport, I usually catch a train and I am joyous about the PATH extension that’s probably coming to the airport.  At CDG in Paris, I’m on the Metro. For my money, public transit usually is not only cheaper but faster when it comes to exiting an airport.

52% would rather miss a flight than lose luggage.

Not me.  But maybe I cheat here. I don’t check bags and therefore find the concept of lost luggage to be alien.  And I don’t recall ever missing a flight in decades of flying. Flights were cancelled, sometimes abruptly, but I never missed one on my own doing.

Baggage of mine has gone astray, and that indeed is annoying. But on the three or so occasions this happened, it always found its way to me within a day or so. I don’t fret much about baggage.

65% would rather fly international than domestic.

Not me.  I suppose I prefer domestic because the flights are shorter.  And, sure, the inflight service is better on international flights. But short still trumps better service.

CWT, incidentally, pointed out that there are regional differences in traveler preferences. In Asia, for instance, 71% want the window. In the Americas it’s just 59%.

Regional differences are especially sharp when the question is taxi vs rideshare. 54% in the CWT poll plunk down for taxis. But in the Americas that number plummets to 37%.

Don’t ask me about that one. You’ll find me in public transit.  

How typical are you regarding the CWT questions?

I’m an outlier but I knew that at the get go.

What about you?

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