Media releases 2014


What gets your goat

Monday, 24 November 2014 by Aimee Bourke

Dirty accommodation, loud, arrogant tourists and smelly airline passengers are among the biggest irritations when travelling, according to the annual survey of New Zealand travellers carried out by Southern Cross Travel Insurance (SCTI).

The SCTI survey of over 2,000 Kiwis, carried out by TNS in September, revealed that the most annoying thing a traveller can do on a flight is smell (30%), let children misbehave (22%), talk loudly or incessantly (17%) and recline their seat (12%).

When asked what action they would take in response, 28% admitted they would do absolutely nothing but silently fume, while others felt the need to be more proactive:

  • 18% would report the passenger to airline staff
  • 17% would confront the passenger directly
  • 17% would ask for a new seat
  • 8% would try to get their own back– in a subtle manner
  • 4% would rant about it on social media.

Craig Morrison, SCTI CEO, says some people are rude and inconsiderate travellers which means these irritations simply can’t be avoided. However, travellers with the potential to be annoyed should ensure they are in the best frame of mind when they start their trip.

“If you board a flight already cranky then you’re more likely to become annoyed. Don’t underestimate the value in eating well and getting enough sleep in the days before you fly, so you’re physically and mentally in a good place.”

Once a destination is reached, the things that take the shine off a holiday are:

  • 36% dirty accommodation
  • 25% delays
  • 12% creepy crawlies
  • 5% other tourists
  • 3% children

In comparison, the 2013 survey had delays top at 39%, dirty accommodation at 26%, other tourists at 9% and children at 7%.

Morrison says the trick to avoiding disappointment is to be realistic about your expectations. He says that while travel insurance covers many things, it can’t cover the quality of your holiday.

“It’s very rare for a travel experience to go exactly as planned – or as you imagined in your head – and you have to be able to roll with it and not let it mar your enjoyment. We have had someone submit a claim because they felt the rain ruined their Pacific Island holiday.”

SCTI also asked travellers about what behaviours in other tourists they find the most maddening. Loud (69%), arrogant (68%) and constantly complaining (54%) were the top picks, while of lesser irritation are being drunk (20%), overly friendly (16%) and boring (13%).