Exploring Perceived Safety, Privacy, and Distrust on Air Travel Choice in the Context of Differing Passenger Screening Procedures

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Travel Research, 2018, 57 (4), pp. 495 - 512
Issue Date:
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© 2017, © The Author(s) 2017. This article examines perceptions of how safe airline travel is and respondents’ level of concern over privacy and trust of authorities. These attitudes are then used to understand the choice to travel under passenger screening processes with differing levels of invasiveness. We find that travelers who are more trusting of authorities are more likely to choose to travel internationally, whereas those with low overall feelings of safety while onboard an aircraft are predisposed to not travel. Our analysis reveals what attitudes and potential screening measures are linked to this feeling of overall safety, chief among which is the presence of visible uniformed police. Our results are also novel as they study these attitudes in the context of a spate of recent air-related disasters; finding no desire to accept screening processes that invade privacy beyond what is currently practiced.
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