Poll: Majorities In U.S., Five Largest European Countries Say Air Travel Is Safe

A new Financial Times/Harris Poll in the United States and the five largest European countries looks at air travel safety and security and finds an overall sense of safety prevails.

Three-quarters of Spaniards (75 percent), more than seven in ten Britons (72 percent), more than two-thirds of Americans (69 percent) and Germans (68 percent), and more than three in five Italians (64 percent) and French (62 percent) all say they consider air travel to be safe. In fact, one-third of Britons (35 percent) and Americans (32 percent) say they consider it to be very safe.

These are some of the findings of a Financial Times/Harris Poll conducted online by Harris Interactive among 6,130 adults aged 16-64 within France (1,097), Germany (1,070), Great Britain (871), Spain (1,003), the U.S. (1,044) and adults aged 18-64 in Italy (1,045) between November 9 and 16, 2010.

Other interesting findings of this survey include:

  • Considering some of the new airport security measures that have been put in place, such as removing shoes and no bottled water, around half of Germans (52 percent), French (49 percent), Americans (49 percent), Spaniards (48 percent) and Britons (47 percent) all say these current airport security measures are adequate and should not change. Italians are more torn, as two in five say both that these measures are adequate (41 percent) and the same number say that they are not rigid enough and should be made more rigid (41 percent).
  • About one in five adults in each of the six countries (between 18 percent and 25 percent) believe that these security measures are too rigid and should be relaxed. When these adults were asked what should be relaxed or removed completely, adults said the limit on liquids (between 64 percent and 90 percent), having to fit cosmetics and liquids into a plastic bag (between 55 percent and 74 percent), and removing shoes and belts (between 45 percent and 75 percent) top the list.
  • As full body scanners are rolled out in the United States, adults in all six countries say they support these devices being used. Strong majorities in Italy (68 percent), Great Britain (68 percent), France (65 percent), Germany (64 percent), the U.S. (62 percent) and Spain (59 percent) all mostly support the introduction of full body scanners in all major airports.
  • One additional security measure is being discussed in the U.K. -- profiling airline passengers at security, or targeting specific groups. Over half of Britons (54 percent), almost half of Americans (48 percent), and two in five Germans (43 percent), Spaniards (42 percent) and Italians (41 percent) would mostly support this additional security measure. French adults are of a different mindset with 41 percent saying they would mostly oppose this practice while 38 percent would mostly support it. There is also a great deal of uncertainty on this security measure as one in five adults in all six countries say they are not sure if they would support or oppose this measure.
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