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Delays and drunken behaviour: New research reveals our top travel gripes

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Flight delays, not enough leg room and long luggage waits have topped the list of Australia’s biggest travel complaints.

Ahead of the spring school holidays, travel insurance comparison service comparethemarket.com.au surveyed 1155 Aussie travellers to reveal our biggest bug bears when we head off on vacation.

Nearly three-quarters (74 per cent) of respondents named flight delays and cancellations as their number one travel grumble. Not enough leg room on planes (45 per cent) and long waits to reclaim baggage (38 per cent) came in as the second and third most common complaints.

Over a third (36 per cent) of respondents said people putting their seats back on planes was a serious annoyance, and 33 per cent found crying babies unbearable when travelling long distances.

Abigail Koch, spokesperson for comparethemarket.com.au says, “Our research shows that Aussies can be an impatient bunch when they head off on hols, with flights, baggage and transfer delays among our most-common complaints. Data from SITA’s latest Baggage Report[1]  shows that airlines only have ten minutes to get passengers’ bags on the carousel if they want to keep 88 per cent of them happy.”

Our grievances don’t stop when we get to our destination, with 62 per cent of Aussies saying they can’t stand loud or drunken behaviour. Half of respondents (50 per cent) said unhelpful staff members are seriously annoying and 44 per cent voted kids running wild as one of their top holiday nightmares.

The survey suggests that annoyances change with age, as almost half (42 per cent) of 25 – 34 year olds said no internet was their idea of holiday hell. Whereas the 55 – 64 year old age group felt not having a TV in the hotel room (36 per cent) and paying for expensive food and drink (24 per cent) were most annoying.

Aussies aren’t wallflowers when it comes to causing a fuss, with nearly two-thirds (63 per cent) of respondents saying they would handle an annoying situation head-on by making a complaint. Only the youngest age group – 18 – 24 year olds – said they don’t like drawing attention to themselves, with the majority (51 per cent) preferring to ignore the situation and hope that it goes away.

“It’s impossible to avoid all annoyances on holiday, but travel insurance can protect you against many situations, including cancellations, lost luggage, and importantly, illness or injury when abroad. Every year, more than 20,000 Aussies[2]  experience complications while travelling, which require help from the Australian government. Travel insurance is very cost effective given its low cost versus the potential payouts in claims. We encourage people to read the product disclosure statements carefully before taking out insurance, so they fully understand what is and isn’t covered,” said Abigail.

Comparethemarket.com.au reveals the five “must-haves” to combat our biggest travel gripes:

  1. Headphones: Travelling on a plane can come with constant disruptions. Wailing babies, flushing toilets, chatty passengers – the list is never ending! Bring a pair of noise-cancelling headphones and rest easy (and in silence) on those longer plane journeys.  
  2. A bright bag tag: After a tiring flight, the very last thing we want to do is look for our baggage on the carousel as it blends in with the hundreds of other suitcases. Buying a colourful, attention-grabbing bag tag can help locate your bag quickly and easily.
  3. Downloaded movies: Prepare early and download your favourite movies and TV shows on your laptop, iPad or phone before jetting off. If your hotel room doesn’t come with a TV, then you won’t have to stress with your entertainment already taken care of.
  4. A new bestseller: Screaming kids and obnoxious holiday goers bringing you down? Grab a new book beforehand and tune out the annoying sounds. You’ll be too engrossed to care what’s happening around you!
  5. A sense of humour: Something will inevitably go wrong while on holiday. It’s how you handle the situation that determines whether it makes or breaks your trip. Focus on the fun and learn to laugh at the mishaps. For all other major issues, take out travel insurance in advance. It’ll give you peace of mind!


For interviews and more information, please contact:

Hannah Twiggs | 07 3377 8879 | 0431 511 362 | e: hannah.twiggs@comparethemarket.com.au   

About comparethemarket.com.au

Comparethemarket.com.au is an online comparison service that takes the hard work out of shopping around. We help Australians to quickly and easily compare and buy products from a wide range of providers. Our easy-to-use comparison tool enables consumers to find a product that best suits their needs and their back pocket. We’re also in the business of comparing personal finance products, utilities and can help find the lowest fuel prices in your area. Whether it’s car, health or home & contents insurance, we provide a completely free service, that empowers Australians to make buying decisions with greater trust, knowledge and savings. We’ve got your back, simples.


[1] SITA Baggage Report 2017: https://www.sita.aero/resources/type/surveys-reports/baggage-report-2017

[2] Insurance Council of Australia: http://understandinsurance.com.au/types-of-insurance/travel-insurance

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