If you've flown this year, you've undoubtedly been delayed, bumped, or otherwise pissed off. So you'd think that this was a sign that the airlines were struggling, perhaps? Well, no. It's their most profitable year since 9/11. The secret?
It's all part of the changes sweeping air travel in recent years. Domestic coach flights often mean narrower seats, less legroom, and charges for food and entertainment. Some airlines take a no-frills approach and charge for baggage, pillows and seating assignments. At the same time, international flights have turned first-class travel into a big moneymaker, with higher prices but also gourmet meals, spacious seats, more legroom and seats that turn into beds.
In addition, airlines have drastically cut down on number of flights and support staff. The result is more delays, more over-booking, and more unhappy customers.