The air travel industry contributes over $400 billion to the global economy. Not sure how much that translates to? Well, let’s put it this way: if the air travel industry were a country, its population would be larger than Belgium’s, and its gross domestic product would rival Norway’s.
Banking giant HSBC recently conducted research into the air travel industry, looking at what makes it run—and what it would be like if it were an actual place. Calling it “Flyland,” HSBC, which has a robust presence in the air travel economy and has a strong commitment to serving the needs of travelers, found that this fictional land would boast the 25th largest economy in the world, with more than $1.26 billion being added every day.
“Air travel has become an increasingly important part of people’s lives in the last 10 years, thanks to a growing global commerce and pure wanderlust. It has made more experiences, opportunities and relationships possible than ever before,” said Cindy Wong, HSBC’s regional head of marketing for North America.
The costs—and benefits—of living in Flyland
Each day, approximately 11.9 million people are in the air at some point. The average citizen of “Flyland” spends 30 hours in the air each year, taking roughly 4.5 flights per year. At the airport and on board, they spend an average of $51.32 per flight. This includes costs for things like Wi-Fi, food and beverages, and duty-free treats. When paying for items on board, 72 percent use credit cards or debit cards rather than cash—possibly because many airlines no longer accept cash payments on board.
One way to save on purchases in Flyland is to have a travel rewards credit card that gives members a discount on anything they buy on board. These credit cards can also come with perks like free checked baggage and priority boarding, making them a great deal for folks who fly frequently.
Meeting your match
Another benefit of frequenting Flyland? You could meet your perfect match. The HSBC survey found that on the average flight, two couples meet and fall in love. Even if you’re already living happily ever after, you could meet someone interesting: 47 percent of air travelers report starting a conversation with the person next to them. Twelve percent say they’ve made lasting friends on a flight, and 13 percent have made business connections.
HSBC credit card customers get plenty of other perks too, including free travel insurance and access to 750 airport lounges worldwide. That’s a great reason to book a flight—and become a member of a credit card travel rewards program today.