One of the recurring themes here on a.net is the topic which aircraft you prefer to fly. At some point during the (heated) debate, someone will invariably point out that most passengers likely don't know and don't care what aircraft type they're on, as long as they get from A to B.
Although this admission may get be banned, I sometimes don't know what aircraft I am on either, or can't remember.
But I do fly a lot, and so do many of my colleagues. I asked some of them recently (inspired by the debates here) whether they knew what kind of aircraft they'd last been on, or if we're flying together what aircraft we are on at the time.
I asked three colleagues, each of whom rack up more than 100 sectors a year, so they qualify as frequent flyers. The conclusion of my admittedly unscientific poll is that they have no idea. On one flight, a colleague told me that we're on an Airbus, because while boarding he looked into the cockpit and saw the CRTs rather traditional instruments. And even then he had no idea what type it was... But by and large, there is little awareness amongst them of what aircraft they're on, and when asked for preferences between one or the other, they came up blank.
Same applies to me, incidentally. I have a slightly greater interest in these matters, but if you ask me for a preference between a B737 and A320, I would have no idea. I recently flew a two-leg trip with LH
, first being on a 737, the second on a 319 (I only know this because I was paying attention), and the interiors were identical. Same gray leather Recaro seats, same layout, etc. If I hadn't focused on it, I wouldn't have noticed.
Obviously, this is not a conclusive passenger survey, and could be biased by any number of things. My colleagues and I tend to be rather caught up with work, meaning we pay less attention to the flying. It could also be the case that people who fly very rarely will be more aware of what aircraft they're in, because it's new and exciting to them, whereas my sample group takes flying for granted. And the sample size is very small indeed.
Nonetheless, I thought I'd post it here to shed some outside perspective on this.