U.S. fliers still consider ticket prices the most important factor when choosing a flight, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll, suggesting two fatal crashes of Boeing 737 MAX jets have had little impact on consumer sentiment.
In the public opinion poll released May 15, only about half of U.S. adults say they are familiar with the airplane crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that together killed 346 people, and only 43% could identify the Boeing 737 MAX as the aircraft involved.
Most importantly for Boeing in the wake of the crashes, only 3% said that aircraft maker or model number was most important to them when buying a plane ticket. In contrast, 57% said ticket price was most important. The poll has a credibility interval, a measure of precision, of 3 percentage points.
To see the full results of the poll, which was conducted online in English throughout the United States and gathered responses from 2,008 adults, click here.
A Boeing spokesman declined to comment on the Reuters/Ipsos poll, but said the company is "committed to returning the MAX safely to the skies so that pilots, crew, regulators and the traveling public have total confidence in this airplane."
During a call with investors last month, Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg said he knows "we have some work to do to earn and re-earn the trust of our customers and the flying public in particular."
If global regulators clear the jets for flight, the Reuters/Ipsos poll data suggest that carriers likely will not have trouble booking seats on the aircraft.
Boeing's fast-selling 737 MAX airliner was grounded worldwide in March after an Ethiopian Airlines crash, just five months after a similar disaster on a Lion Air flight.