Freqonomics – The Hidden Side of Travel

If a friend asked you, “Hey, how was your last flight on airline XYZ” you would tell them. Depending on how much time you had, it might turn into a full-fledged discussion.

And many, many travelers post detailed descriptions of their in-flight experiences to online travel communities. DavidGordon10 being one such traveler.

So why is it that DavidGordon10 turned down compensation offered by Air France to record information about a flight he had booked?

What Air France wanted him to do was serve as a “Quality Observer”, and in this capacity he would be expected to “… record your experiences with your mobile phone using the Quality Observer mobile App during the different stages of your journey, each stage should take less than 5 minutes to complete.”

Now let us suppose that the total time I would need to devote to this for each flight where I was a “Quality observer” was about 15 minutes. What is the reward? – either a discount on some articles in the AF-KLM online shop, or “500 Flying Blue Award Miles”.


How much is 500 miles worth? Comparing the miles needed for a return flight ABZ – AMS (currently promoted as needing a reduced number of miles) and the cost of the same flight purchesed off the website, 500 miles seems to be worth about £10.


£10 for 15 minutes work? – £40/hour, maybe up to £400/day?


This is not at all worth it, for me.

To which Bath_VIP replies:

it’s an interesting example of economic incentives. When you are free to choose how to spend your time, you are quite happy to review for free. When someone else tries to pay you to the do the same thing but at their convenience, we balk.

Sounds like a best seller in the making. Freqonomics – The Hidden Side of Travel. Somebody give Stephen J. Dubner a call.

What would you do? Refuse Air France’s money because your time is too valuable? Accept the offer to assist, but turn down the renumeration? Take the job and the money?

Read the thread in its entirety: Air France “Quality Observer”

Image: “More Mozilla ads” by Henrik Moltke. CC BY 2.0.

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