Travelers Feel Safer After Flying During Pandemic

RDU Calls on All Guests to Wear a Mask to Improve Confidence in Air Travel

A survey of passengers who have flown through RDU since the COVID-19 pandemic began shows they feel more confident about air travel after their flight. RDU surveyed passengers in July 2020 to evaluate their perceptions about safety in the airport and on an airplane. The findings include:

  • 75% of respondents who have traveled by air during the COVID-19 pandemic report that they would feel safe flying from RDU, compared to 27% of respondents who have not traveled.
  • Two-thirds of respondents reported being at least somewhat concerned about the safety of their travel prior to their flight, but 51% of those who traveled during the health crisis indicated that they felt safer about flying after their trip, compared to 21% who reported feeling less safe.
  • Customer feedback indicates that social distancing, the cleanliness of RDU’s facilities and the widespread wearing of masks among passengers and airport employees contributed to enhanced feelings of safety.

“The survey shows that customers are confident in the precautions RDU is taking to provide a safe and healthy travel experience, but the most important takeaway is that people are concerned about the actions of other passengers,” said Michael Landguth, president & CEO of the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority. “Wearing a mask at the airport is the single most important thing you can to do to instill confidence in air travel and get the Triangle moving again.”

RDU emailed the survey to more than 9,600 ParkRDU customers from July 27 to July 31. A statistically valid sample of nearly 400 people responded, with a margin of error of 5%. The survey objectives were to understand barriers to airline travel during the pandemic, evaluate safety perceptions and their relevance to RDU’s business operations, develop key learnings to guide our strategic decision making and develop a set of data-driven recommendations.

Additional key findings of the survey are:

  • Leisure travel is returning before business travel, with low air fares during the COVID pandemic attracting a younger, more value-oriented customer.
  • Consumers under the age of 35 were twice as likely to travel during the pandemic than consumers over 35.
  • Consumers with annual household incomes below $200,000 were twice as likely to travel as those earning more than $200,000 per year.
  • Passengers traveling during the pandemic were most likely flying to visit family members:
  • 55% report visiting family as the reason for their travel during the pandemic, while 34% indicated that they were traveling for vacation or leisure.
  • 32% indicated they were flying for business during the pandemic, compared to business travel making up 52% of RDU traffic prior to the pandemic.
  • RDU’s Fly Confident. Fly RDU. campaign has contributed to a heightened perception of the safety of air travel and increased confidence in RDU’s efforts to ensure passenger safety during the pandemic.
  • 83% of those who know about RDU’s health and safety measures reported being confident that RDU is taking the necessary steps to keep guests safe while traveling. Among those who said they were not aware of RDU’s health and safety measures, 47% indicated they are confident in RDU and its efforts to keep passengers safe.

RDU responded to the global health crisis by taking immediate action to protect the health of everyone who visits and works at the airport. RDU’s new health and safety measures include:

  • Increasing the frequency and intensity of our cleaning and disinfecting protocols,
  • New signage, seat covers and floor decals that promote social distancing practices,
  • Plexiglass screens at ticket counters and information desks to provide a barrier between guests and employees,
  • Placing hand sanitizing stations throughout the terminals
  • A state order that requires everyone to wear a face covering at the airport.

It is also important to note that planes have medical-grade HEPA filters that remove 99.9% of particles, including viruses like Covid-19. Air is forced down from the ceiling to the floor and refreshed every two to three minutes.

You can learn more about the new travel experience at RDU on our Fly Confident. Fly RDU. web page.