Here are some of the things that used to be free: checked luggage, snacks, hot meals, blankets, pillows, and leg room. So why all the costs? Because flying carries with it a huge number of costs (fuel, aircraft, staff, maintenance). Fifty years ago, air travel was only for the wealthy, but today we want (and expect) to travel cheaply. Today’s “To the Point” looked at whether an industry with enormous costs and competition can survive even as more costs are passed along to the travelers themselves. For story research and inspiration we reached out to public radio listeners to get their horror stories.

Here’s some of what we heard:

“Passengers were treated like customers, now we’re treated like cattle.”

“There’s nobody you can talk to that’s responsible for anything.”

“What do you do when you’re ten minutes into a 3 hour flight and everything is covered in vomit?”

It wasn’t all bad news for the industry. “Ask The Pilot’s” Patrick Smith said that things are actually getting better. You can hear the full “To the Point” here.

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  • Monica Whitmer

    Airline travel is a privilege not a right. I think when customers REALLY vote with their feet and not just buy the cheapest ticket, then airlines will care about service. But of course, INfrequent fliers usually don’t have any idea who will treat them right or wrong. All in all, I think we have gotten a bit spoiled. At least we don’t have to travel with livestock in the seat next to us, as could easily happen on a bus in Latin America – or in India!