Holiday fliers’ wish list: dependable apps, seat near Renee Zellweger

Holiday travel
Holiday travelers worry that websites and mobile apps they rely on to book travel will perform poorly during the busy holiday season.
(Matt Slocum / Associated Press)

What bugs us most about the holiday travel crush? A mobile app that won’t work when checking on a flight’s status. It ranks as the No. 1 travel frustration, even more annoying than dealing with the Transportation Security Administration, a survey says.

Most Americans book their travel electronically: 34% on a website and 23% on a mobile app.

But at least a third of us who will be traveling over Thanksgiving and Christmas worry that the site or app will load slowly, be unresponsive or crash when we need to use it to upgrade an airline seat or book a hotel room over the busy holidays. 

Results of the holiday travel behavior study were compiled by Soasta, a San Francisco-based company that creates products that test websites and apps. The findings are based on a Harris Poll of more than 2,000 adults in the U.S. from Oct. 29 to 31. (There’s no estimated sampling error because the online survey wasn’t based on a probability sample, the statement says.)


“Planning ahead is critical for holiday travel — and that same preparation is essential for companies providing online services during the peak holiday season,” Tom Lounibos, chief executive of Soasta, said in a statement.

So what would it take to soothe our rattled nerves? Forty-five percent said upgrading an airline seat would improve their holiday outlook and help them unwind.

And three out of four might agree to delay their flight by 24 hours if they were given a free hotel stay near the airport (38%), discounted future travel (30%), extra loyalty club reward points (20%) and “a chance to sit next to Renee Zellweger” (6%).