Price is by far the most important consideration for US travellers when booking air travel, far outpacing factors like total travel time, number of stops and airline brand, a new Reuters/Ipsos poll finds.

Fifty seven per cent of the 2,316 Americans polled cited ticket price as the most important factor they consider in purchasing air travel, with “number of stops to reach my destination” a distant second at 12 per cent.

Nearly half of those polled (48 per cent) considered current airline ticket prices to be “somewhat high,” while another 25 per cent think prices are “very high.”

Other results hinted at soft brand loyalty in the airline industry. Southwest Airlines was named the favourite airline of 19 per cent of travellers, followed by Delta Air Lines with 13 per cent.

However, 37 per cent of those polled said they don’t have a favourite airline, and more than half (52 per cent) of Americans said they would not pay any extra money to fly on their preferred airline (30 per cent said they would pay “a little more” money to fly on their favourite airline, while just 5 per cent said they would pay “a lot more” to do so).

Once onboard, most travellers prefer a window seat (52 per cent) or an aisle seat (24 per cent) to the middle seat (3 per cent) — the other 21 per cent expressed no preference.

Again, however, only 28 per cent of Americans are willing to pay to avoid a middle seat.