World Nomads Poll: Top Stressors for Holiday Travelers

Flight delays/cancellations and drunken or snoring seatmates are top stressors for holiday travelers according to latest World Nomads Pulse Poll.


People standing in line at the airport. Photo © Getty Images / SolStock

Key findings of Pulse Poll

  • The most stressful thing about flying continues to be flight delays/cancellations according to 43 percent, with 28 percent saying it’s long lines and 26 percent point to getting stuck in heavy traffic on the way to the airport.
  • When asked who would be the worst seatmate, 'Drunken Dan' topped the list (42 percent) followed by 'Snoring Steve' (23 percent), 'Loud Larry' (21 percent) and 'Shoeless Samantha' (14 percent).
  • The majority of those polled (76 percent) claim to be “early birds” when it comes to arriving at the airport, compared with 24 percent who arrive for a flight at the last minute.

Media Release: October 27, 2022 – As Americans gear up for a holiday travel season that is expected to be one of the busiest and most expensive in recent years, World Nomads surveyed more than 500 global travelers* on their top stressors in a 24-hour snap Pulse Poll.

Following a summer plagued by flight delays and cancellations, going into the peak holiday travel season this remains the top pain point for 43 percent of respondents. Twenty-eight percent are most concerned about long TSA lines, and 26 percent said that getting stuck in traffic on the way to the airport is what stresses them out the most.

It appears that travelers have been conditioned by the airlines to get to the airport early. A majority (76 percent) of those polled said they arrive early. Only 24 percent admit they arrive at the last minute.

World Nomads is a fast-growing travel insurance and assistance provider offering simple and flexible travel insurance and safety advice to help consumers travel more confidently. This most recent Pulse Poll, conducted on World Nomads’ Instagram page, is part of an ongoing series of snapshot polls taken in a 24-hour period, aimed at tracking trends and surveying travelers on hot topic issues.

With packed flights now the norm, travelers were quick to identify their most difficult seatmates. Topping the list: 'Drunken Dan,' who has a few too many at the airport bar prior to boarding, according to 42 percent of those polled. This was followed by 'Snoring Steve,' (23 percent) and 'Loud Larry' (21 percent), who have passengers reaching for those noise-cancelling headphones. Less bothersome, 'Shoeless Samantha' (14 percent), who insists on treating the plane as a living room at home.

Respondents share recent travel nightmares

World Nomads also asked respondents to share some of their worst flight experiences, and travelers did not hold back. Crying babies and being kicked by passengers seated behind were mentioned by many. One of the most harrowing travel tales was being stuck in Paris for 52 hours during the COVID-19 pandemic, with no cash and having to sleep on the airport floor.

“With the busy holiday travel season around the corner, we wanted to probe the pain points that travelers have when it comes to air travel,” said Christina Tunnah, general manager of marketing and brands, World Nomads. “Coming out of summer and understanding the pain points caused by the post-COVID surge in demand for travel, we weren’t surprised to see that flight delays and cancellations remain on the minds of Americans as they prepare to head to the skies again. We also wanted to provide some tips to help travelers during this often-chaotic travel season.”

World Nomads offers holiday flight tips to smooth the going

World Nomads’ 24/7 global travel assistance center provides its customers with ongoing assistance and support as they travel around the world. The team of experts is constantly called upon to help travelers when the unexpected occurs, including everything from flight delays and cancellations to medical emergencies. They offer the following hacks and tips to help travelers lessen their stress when heading for the sometimes not so “friendly skies” this holiday season.

  • Pack your patience and some kindness - 'Tis the Season for long lines, over-worked airline employees and packed flights. Take a deep breath and spread some kindness. Pack some candy or gift cards for flight attendants and gate agents.
  • Eagle eye your flight details - Triple check everything, including your name spelling and make sure it matches your passport or driver’s license exactly. Make sure your passport, which may have been sitting dormant for a few years, is still valid. Many destinations require at least six months validity beyond your trip dates (and most airlines won’t let you board if you don’t meet that requirement). Also make sure your dates and flight times are accurate. If you must cancel or change your reservation, do so as soon as possible to avoid fees and losing a possible future credit. Be mindful that if you don’t show up for the first leg of your journey, the airline might automatically cancel your return leg.
  • Be a non-stop early birdie - Take the first flight of the day if you can. Not only is it likely to be less expensive, but it’s also less likely to be delayed. Also take a non-stop flight. Connections will only increase your chances for delays/cancellations and lost baggage. Non-stops are also kinder on the environment by avoiding the carbon emissions produced by multiple take offs and landings. Get to the airport extra early to allow for the unexpected. Follow your airline’s guidance for airport arrival times.
  • Pack light and smart - Opt for carry-on luggage vs. checking a bag. Gifts can be shipped in advance directly to your destination; no need to haul them with you. Don’t carry-on that pie as TSA might flag it as liquid and have you toss it. Take a packable tote bag for hauling your gifts back with you. If you do need to check a bag, make sure you pack valuables, a change of clothes and medication in your carry-on. You don’t want to be without these items if your luggage is delayed. Still checking bags and worried where they are? Throw in a tracking tile and always keep your checked bag receipt.

*World Nomads sells travel insurance in more than 100 countries around the world. The Pulse Poll is a 24-hour snap survey conducted on the brand’s Instagram account.

Media contact:

Mandy Morrissey
Phone: +1.510.775.0780

About World Nomads

World Nomads is a fast-growing, global travel insurance company. We provide inspirational stories, safety tips and specialized travel insurance for adventurous and independent travelers. Our online travel insurance products cover travelers from more than 100 countries and allow you to buy and claim online, 24/7, even while already traveling.

Our travel insurance focuses on what is important to travelers: emergency medical and evacuation costs, baggage, trip cancellation, trip delay and trip interruption costs. We also cover more than 150 adventure sports and activities, plus tech and gear. Our policies are underwritten by a suite of specialist travel insurers that provide 24/7 emergency assistance, customer service and claims support, making us a top choice for many of the world's leading adventure and youth travel brands.

World Nomads is a part of the nib Group which provides health and medical insurance to more than 1.6 million Australian and New Zealand residents. We also provide health insurance to more than 190,000 international students and workers in Australia and are Australia’s third-largest travel insurer and global distributor of travel insurance through our business nib Travel.