The survey instrument (questionnaire) used for this program was designed by the U.S. government, the airlines and travel industry. The questionnaire was designed in 1982, and modified in 1985, 1990, 1993, 1996 and 2012. The information collected includes the following [link to questionnaire]:
Destination/Gateway Information: destinations visited including: True origin-destination, census regions, states and major cities/attractions, countries, main destination visited port-of-entry, use of connecting flights including airport connections used, leisure/recreational activities, nights away from home/in U.S., number of states, destinations or countries visited, types of transportation used while on the trip, accommodations used and rental car.
Trip Planning Information: Purpose of trip (main and other purposes), type of airline ticket (First Class, Business Class, Coach, frequent flyer tickets/upgrade, discount/group fare, non-revenue), traveler seating area, advanced trip decision/airline reservation timing, method of booking trip/lodging, information sources used, prepaid package/inclusive tour usage, and number of days prior departure the package was purchased.
Ratings Information: Factors involved in choosing the airline for this trip, general impression of the airline (provided to airlines only), ratings of 18 elements of the airplane for this flight (provided to airlines only), recommendation rating for this airline for next trip (provided to airlines only), Customs & Border Protection service ratings, ratings of 10 airport attributes, time required to clear Customs, baggage delivery time rating.
Demographic Information: residence and citizenship of traveler, U.S. zip codes, country of birth, gender, age, occupation, income, type and size of travel party, first international trip to/from U.S., number of foreign trips in past five years; & past twelve months, trip expenditures (total and itemized) , use of credit card, travelers checks, debit card use for payment of expenses.
Product Differentiation: Survey data provides information on the entire U.S. – overseas and Mexican-air marketplaces or any sub-region and/or true origin-destination itineraries, unlike individual airline, alliance-only surveys or data-sets that are predominantly U.S. carrier focused. Survey data reveals the nature of the customer, his/her choice patterns and demographics and is not just an onboard service evaluation.