I flew for the first time when I was 16, and didn’t fly again until was 18. My family simply didn’t fly very much, because when I was growing up it was way too expensive. I drove, rode Greyhound thousands of miles, and shuttled back and forth on Amtrak to college because, up until the oughts, it was simply more affordable than trying to fly into an area with no major airports. Then prices came down so that I could fly within a few or even a couple hours of home; recently it’s made financial sense to fly straight to my hometown.

Which is why I get irritated when I read stuff like this:

Middle-class Americans are fed up with paying more for less, fed up at being taken for granted, especially since their salaries remain stagnant and their jobs insecure. They’re angry at airlines, with their myriad fees and their pampering of elite fliers, a category of their own invention.

It doesn’t take much to spot the flaw. Just try pricing business or first class tickets. If you want to pay two or three times as much to be “pampered,” help yourself. I can’t afford to, and I probably wouldn’t if I could: I got bumped up to first class awhile back, and the result was a bit more room, a bit of food and drink on the house, and a hot cloth. Which was perfectly nice, but given the margins I operate on, not remotely worth tacking on a couple weeks’ rent.