New research by HSBC reveals that airline passengers have helped create a booming new economy valued at something in the region of $400.5 billion USD – with a staggering $1.26 billion being added every single day. It’s an economy which is so big that it could compete with the annual gross domestic product of oil-rich Norway and has a population larger than Belgium.
Some 11.9 million people make up the daily population of HSBC’s imaginary country called ‘Flyland’ – if it existed in real life, it would be the 25th largest economy in the world. Most citizens of this transient country take an average of four and a half flights every year – spending around 30 hours in the air.
Two couples meet each for the first time on every single flight
The good news is that those hours spent at 30,000 feet don’t have to be wasted – the researchers came to the conclusion that two couples not only meet but also fall in love on the average flight. Who knew flying could be so romantic?
Already in a relationship? Not to worry, there are plenty of opportunities to just make friends onboard – some 47% of passengers strike up a conversation with a stranger while flying and out of those, around 12% have made long-lasting friendships.
“Air travel has become an increasingly important part of peoples’ lives in the last 10 year,” explains Cindy Wong, HSBC’s Regional Head of Marketing for North America.
Wong puts that down to “growing global commerce” as well as “pure wanderlust.” She continued: “It has made more experiences, opportunities and relationships possible than ever before.”
Ancillary revenue stronger than ever
With a slew of North American airlines raising checked bags fee’s in the last week and even full-service carriers introducing yet ever more inventive ancillary revenue opportunities (here’s looking at you Etihad) it’s no surprise the global Flyland economy is being boosted by onboard sales.
In fact, HSBC estimates the average American is spending over $50 per flight – on top of baggage and advanced seating fee’s. The most important expenditure included onboard WiFi, food and drink, as well as alcoholic beverages. International travellers also spent over $30 on Duty-Free goodies on average.
Oh, one final thing – the citizens of Flyland have come to the same etiquette conclusions as many other previous studies – with children coming in for particular criticism. Children kicking the seat back in front are apparently the biggest annoyance, while parents who let their little ones run amok are also a particular annoyance.
And don’t be rude to your flight attendant – over half the citizens of Flyland are likely to judge you harshly
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.