As availability concerns around new aircrafts rise, airlines will look to retrofit their existing fleets; carriers such as Southwest, Delta, and Alaska Airlines have already publicized interior upgrades aimed at increasing passenger comfort. Kaiser Associates recently conducted a survey of ~500 US-based airline travelers identifying as a variety of traveler types – frequent pleasure, infrequent pleasure, and business travelers. The following article highlights insights from travelers about the most important amenities that airlines can offer and how airplane interiors can better meet their needs; this is the first installment in a series of articles examining preferences in the aviation industry.

Seat Comfort

Across all passenger types, seat comfort emerges as the predominant amenity deemed “Very Important.” Analysis of survey responses reveals that 45% of respondents prioritize seat comfort above other amenities such as legroom, cabin service, in-flight entertainment, luggage allowance, and Wi-Fi options when traveling.
This trend persists among various passenger categories. Among respondents identifying as infrequent pleasure travelers, approximately 40% prioritize seat comfort as their foremost concern. This percentage increases to approximately 49% among frequent pleasure travelers. Similarly, 44% of business travelers rank seat comfort as “Very Important.”

Luggage Allowance and Legroom

While seat comfort stands out as the principal concern among travelers, other amenities such as luggage allowance and legroom also hold considerable significance. While legroom (in addition to seat comfort) speaks to the desire for physical comfort across all traveler types, an emphasis on features like free checked luggage or overhead space to avoid gate-checking could offset frustration around current interior structures.

In-Flight Entertainment

Across all traveler types, in-flight entertainment tends to receive lower importance ratings in comparison to the other listed amenities. Travelers most often rate In-Flight Entertainment at the “Neutral” or “Not Important” level. This prevailing sentiment may stem from the prevalent use of personal devices for in-flight entertainment, signaling a need for innovation in the space to capture passengers’ attention during their flight experience.


Our findings suggest that both airlines and plane manufacturers will benefit from developing scalable, pro-active retrofitting programs that prioritize investments in the highest impact amenities, particularly physical comfort. In addition to increasing passenger satisfaction, these programs can safeguard against supply chain issues and reduce unexpected spend on interior repair and maintenance as airlines seek to extend the life of current fleets.

The research, analysis, and insights above were developed by Ali Cumber, Laura Barkowski, and Jordan Manley from Kaiser’s Washington, DC office.

For more information on this study, our work and capabilities, please see or email