This is actually quite a complicated question ...
- I hate having 2 people sitting next to me on a long haul flight. So I try to avoid aircraft with a "window -3 seats - aisle" seating arrangement.
- The Airbus A330/340 are by far the quietest and most comfortable aircraft to fly on, so its always a joy to fly on them.
- Service is always a hit and miss with all airlines. Sometimes they have there good days and sometimes they have their bad days. However, its the consitency of their service level that I find important. Having said that, I hate it when people trash an airline or praise another and they're basing their whole story on 1 experience. Even worse, those people who bash or praise an airline and have never even flown them ....
- Transferring airport/hub. AMS
is great and easy, while LHR
(even with the new T5
) is still a pain. Why in God's name, if I'm arriving at a T5B gate and departing 2 hours later from the gate beside the one I arrived, should I have to take an underground train, go up and down a maze of escalators, only to stand in line to go through passport control and another line for another security check only to go back to the same maze of escalators to go back on the underground train and end up where I started?
- Adventure factor. The airline enthusist in me is always looking for new airlines, aircraft and airports to try. If I could fly all the way around the world, stopping off in a dozen airports, trying different airlines and aircraft for the same price as a non-stop flight, I would.
- Price, the price needs to be right. I don't mind spending $100 - $200 more for a flight if I can find one that really gives me a comfortable aircraft on an airline that I've had consistently good service with and that I transit through an airport I enjoy. Or of course, if the trip really sounds like an adventure to me
So, to answer the question in the OP. For me, a consistent level in service is the most important factor when I base my decision to book a flight. Bottom line is that airlines are still in the service industry and there needs to be some level of service. Personally, I don't really care if the tinfoil souffle has bin created by a 5 star chef, to me its more important that the crew member serving it really does enjoy their job and at least tries to make my trip enjoyable even if its with a simple smile.