‘Wait and see’ crowd of 34 million passengers holding off booking flights until they know airports can cope with demand. Airports across the country could be hit by a surge in last minute getaways in 2023 as a result of this year’s travel disruption, new research reveals. Peter Lyburn, Founder & CEO at Stonehaven, said: “The airline industry is on notice from its customers. If it is deemed to be succeeding in the Spring months of 2023, a significant and short notice spike in demand will occur.
“Our research suggests management teams at airports like Manchester and travel industry products priced at the ‘one holiday booking a year’ market will need to ride the biggest wave with the smallest notice.” The Stonehaven survey found that two in three people blame airport operators and airlines for this year’s disruption, which they overwhelmingly believe was caused by a shortage of baggage and security staff.The findings reveal more than half the public, 63%, want flights cut to help better manage the numbers of people travelling through airports, while more than a quarter, 27%, want better pay and conditions for workers.
More than 63 million passengers travelled in and out of the UK over the summer, but over a third of seats were not filled – with customers staying at home as a direct result of news stories about staff shortages, cancelled flights and baggage pile ups.
The dual impact of Covid and 2022’s summer of chaos has now changed the 2023 summer buying habits of UK households. Stonehaven’s polling shows that more people now plan to book their holidays much later in 2023 while they ‘wait and see’ if the situation at airports has improved.
Only 23% of people, some 22 million people, will book their air travel early but 35% of all potential flyers, some 35 million people, will be booking much later. Older travellers and those on low incomes, who already rarely travel, are among those most likely to be among this ‘wait and see’ crowd.
Traditionally the average booking time for a summer holiday is five to six months in advance. However, the rise in ‘wait and see’ bookers will push this average down to two or three months in advance of travelling.
This gives the industry 50% less time to plan for the summer and raises the prospect of ‘hidden passenger spikes’ which could threaten fresh disruption in 2023 across all parts of the UK.
Bristol, East Midlands and Manchester airports could be among those facing millions of unexpected last-minute travellers turning up at their doors with little time to prepare.
The UK’s top ten ‘wait and see’ regions include:
- Ludlow (50% of the holiday maker market)
- North Herefordshire (50%)
- West Worcestershire (48%)
- Stone (47%)
- North Shropshire (46%)
- Mid Worcestershire (46%)
- Stratford-on-Avon (45%)
- Staffordshire Moorlands (45%)
- North Devon (45%)
- Shrewsbury and Atcham (45%)
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