As a travel writer, I’m frequently on the receiving end of a lot of negativity when it comes to air travel. Fees, crowded planes and airports, higher fares, security hassles, crabby flight attendants, testy gate agents… I hear it all.
Remember the brouhaha surrounding the introduction of full-body scanners late last year? I can't tell you how many emails and calls I got from folks swearing to never travel again. The complaining got so loud that even travel-related stocks took a hit as investors fled, fearing a downturn in travel demand.
But despite all this, I'm still a firm believer that air travel has improved a lot since I took my first business trips back in the early eighties: back when the only seats available on the Friday flight home were in the smoking section of the plane; when you had to have paper tickets snail-mailed to you before you left for the airport; before the days of seat back TV, in-flight internet and online booking.
So I was heartened to see the results of a recent survey by Orbitz, the online travel agency, of 1,000 US-based travellers who have taken at least one trip in the last year.
Orbitz wanted to learn how travellers' expectations and experiences have changed over the last decade.
Despite feeling overwhelmed by complaints about travel, I was relieved (and surprised) to see that a large majority of travellers are on the same page with me: 71% think that the overall travel experience is better today than it was 10 years ago.
When it comes to the in-flight experience, travellers lauded improvements such as the ability to choose airline seats online, improved airline safety and the addition of personal TVs and wi-fi on planes. On the negative side, travellers complained about ancillary fees, the lack of free food or drink, delays, cancellations and crowded flights.
That's the perspective from the US, but I'm wondering if BBC.com readers worldwide could chime in here. What's your perspective? Is the flying experience getting better, or worse? Share your views with fellow travellers on our Facebook page.