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Thai travellers: the best to have around

Jun 19. 2019
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By THE NATION

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Expedia’s 2019 global plane and hotel etiquette study finds that Thai travellers top the charts for their goodwill.

The global report deep dives into travellers’ preferences, behaviours and pet peeves, spanning from sea level to the stratosphere. While we all have travel horror stories to tell and social media is a perfect vehicle to vent, this year’s findings call out travellers who spread kindness and goodwill on the road. A total of 601 Thai travellers who had taken an average of either 11.2 personal flights or 10.1 business flight per year were surveyed.

“As the social media has portrayed, an act of kindness is still very much valued. And Thai travellers  top the chart when it comes to providing various acts of kindness to fellow travellers,” said Lavinia Rajaram, APAC head of communications for Expedia.

When it comes to acts of kindness, 41 per cent of all respondents worldwide have helped someone lift their luggage into the overhead compartment and Thai travellers top the chart with 50 per cent. Americans (42 per cent) and Taiwanese (40 per cent) are the most willing to change their seat while Thais come in midway (22 per cent) and the Dutch (21 per cent) and Japanese (9 per cent) are the least likely.

The Taiwanese (11 per cent) Japanese (13 per cent), and Thais (15 per cent) are the most sensitive to their neighbours, as the least likely to bring strong-smelling foods on flights. On the other hand, Indians (31 per cent) and Americans (30 per cent) are less likely to care. 

The most generous when it comes to illness, offering a tissue or cough drop, are Austrians (57 per cent) and Thai (54 per cent). Japanese (19 per cent) and South Koreans (24 per cent) are much less likely to lend a helping hand to a coughing or sneezing neighbour. 

Travellers are steering clear of alcohol to avoid being annoying in the air, with 95 per cent reporting they wouldn’t get drunk. That’s lucky because this year, 43 per cent of global respondents identified the drunk passenger as the most annoying person on a plane. Only 5 per cent of global respondents reported ever getting drunk on a flight.

The top five most annoying behaviour for Thai passengers are namely drunk passenger (43 per cent), germ spreader (35 per cent), aromatic passenger (27 per cent), seat kicker/bumper/grabber (25 per cent) and inattentive parent (24 per cent).

While being confined to an plane seat can bring out the worst in some people, most people don't think of using social media to deal with rude fellow travellers. When it comes to unruly plane passengers, travellers are dealing with things directly. Thai passengers definitely prefer avoiding a confrontation.

The French (61 per cent), followed by the Swiss (57 per cent) and Germans (57 per cent) are the most likely to confront seat kickers directly, while Thai travellers (41 per cent) would ask the flight attendant to handle that conflict on their behalf. Thais (69 per cent) will go directly to flight attendants when experiencing rude behaviour towards another passenger, instead of confronting the rude traveller directly (16 per cent).

When it comes to armrest hogging, Thais (50 per cent) get straight to the point and would ask a passenger hogging the armrest to make room for them, coming close to the highest ranked, Austrians (60 per cent).

We may be kind on air, but how do Thai travellers react to bad hotel etiquette?

Globally, 70 per cent of all respondents say they would call the front desk for help if noise was an issue during their hotel stay. Thais come in higher than average at 74 per cent. Indians (30 per cent) are most likely to confront pool noise directly, with New Zealanders (44 per cent) and Australians (40 per cent) willing to take a laidback approach and ignore it. Thais (60 per cent) will raise the issue with the lifeguard or the hotel management instead of confronting the noise makers.

The top five most annoying guests for Thai travellers are inattentive parents (42 per cent), inroom revellers (36 per cent), bar boozers (31 per cent), loud lovers (27 per cent), and partygoers (25 per cent)

When it comes to good behaviour, souvenirs seems to be the universal sign of respect among Thai travellers — 18 per cent of Thai respondents said that they would appreciate either a small gift upon arrival. A quick inperson introduction to sights and restaurants in the area was a close second, with 26 per cent of all Thai travellers saying this was the most appreciated thing a host could do. These results highlight that while personal contact is still greatly appreciated when it comes to good hospitality, complimentary food is the way to travellers’ hearts.

 

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