Time is money: Air travelers willing to pay to save time on long-haul travel


Skyscanner has today revealed the value flight passengers are willing to pay to save an hour of their time during air travel.

The global travel search engine analysed the top 100 most popular long-haul flight routes, plotting the durations of routes passengers booked against the price they paid for the flight to show the value they place on saving journey time.

The analysis reveals that $8 is the average value passengers are willing to pay to save each hour of their time, by choosing flights with a shorter total journey time and less of a stop-over.

Several factors can influence the value of time savings on routes. For example, the analysis found that passengers seem willing to pay more – $1-2 on average – on journeys which form part of shorter trips of less than seven days. Whether the route is more popular for business or leisure and competition also appear to play a key role in how much value passengers are willing to pay per hour saved.

As part of the analysis, Skyscanner also picked 10 popular global routes which currently lack a direct non-stop connection, calculating the value of reducing time on those routes, and showing the potential opportunity for carriers to introduce direct flights.

On the Bahrain to Kuala Lumpur route for example, which is popular but has no direct route, passengers pay on average $26 per hour to shorten their journey. Meanwhile passengers flying between LA and Buenos Aires, where more choice from carriers exists, pay on average of $2 per hour saved, showing the value per route can vary significantly.

Head of Business Development for Skyscanner Analytics Faical Allou commented, “In this day and age, time is an increasingly valuable commodity. Looking into the value of reducing journey time involved in taking a flight, particularly a long-distance one, reveals interesting insights and shows that there are several factors involved in how much value passengers attribute to reducing travel time, such as whether the trip is for business or leisure, the length of the trip and the choice of carriers and itineraries on offer. This information could play a key role in airlines’ and airports’ decisions. Understanding the value passengers place on time for different routes can reveal great commercial opportunities for carriers.”

The data comes from the search engine’s Data crunching Travel Insight tool which allows businesses to see real passenger search and booking trends from Skyscanner’s 50 million monthly visitors, including pricing and route intentions. Skyscanner’s powerful aviation analytics platform is used by many key aviation players including Iberia Express and Dublin Airport.