Poll: Mechanical failure top
concern of airline travelers
July 23, 1996
ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- In the wake of the explosion of TWA
Flight 800 last week -- and the possibility the Boeing 747 may have
been downed by a bomb -- a majority of airline travelers are
more concerned about mechanical failure than terrorist
Web posted at: 11:00 a.m. EDT
A CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll reveals that 68
percent of all Americans have some confidence that jetliners
are safe from such attacks, though only 17 percent said
they have a great deal of confidence in the airlines' ability
to protect their passengers.
But 80 percent of airline passengers said they were more
worried about aircraft mechanical problems, and
87 percent said that more extensive mechanical inspections
would be worth additional costs and inconvenience to fly,
according to the poll. Seventy-eight percent said they
wouldn't mind paying more and being delayed by more careful
inspection of passengers and their baggage.
But the poll revealed that 71 percent were at least somewhat
confident that airplanes are structurally sound and properly
Airline travelers more worried about
Mechanical problems 80%
Terrorist attack 11%
Sampling error: +/- 4% pts
A slight majority of the public believes that terrorists will
strike at the Olympics in Atlanta, with 51 percent calling
the possibility likely, while 46 percent said it was unlikely.
The poll said that 39 percent are worried that they or a
family member would be a victim of a terrorist attack.
The crash of the TWA Boeing 747 apparently had less impact on
the public's perception of TWA than the crash of ValuJet
Flight 592 in May had on the low-cost airline. Immediately
following that crash into the Florida Everglades -- all 110
aboard the aircraft were killed -- 46 percent of airline
travelers told poll-takers the crash made them less likely to
Terrorist attack at the Olympics
Very likely 13%
Somewhat likely 38%
Somewhat unlikely 28%
Very unlikely 18%
Sampling error: +/- 5% pts
You or family members will be victim of terrorist attack
Sampling error: +/- 5% pts
Not worried 61%
The most recent poll showed that only 17 percent of airline
travelers were less likely to fly TWA.
But airline travel in general may have been more affected by
the TWA crash -- this weekend's poll showed that 20 percent
of travelers were less likely to fly a major airline. After
the ValuJet crash, the number was 11 percent.
Interviews with 1,010 adult Americans, including 849 people
who have flown on a commercial airline at least once in their
lives, were conducted for the poll July 18-21.
Airline travelers less
likely to fly TWA
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