Moving where you want in pursuit of career opportunities and adventure has been part of the American psyche for a long time. My family has been like that for decades, with the end result that we are now really, really scattered. We still like each other; we often travel to see each other for the holidays thanks to air travel. My dad has been traveling for work for a long time and has always been generous with frequent flyer miles to any family member tight on cash. The airlines have made a lot of money from my extended family.
Sure, everyone's getting slammed by inflation. But that's only part of it. Even if we could afford the tickets themselves, none of us can afford the uncertainty that comes with frequent delays. And delays seem to be getting worse all the time.
Is air travel measurably worse?
Is this just due to a lack of balance between supply and demand, as people want to fly more but airlines struggle to re-hire all those folks laid off during lockdowns? Might there be other forces at work that want to make air travel miserable?
I know we all have lots of horrible anecdotes, but let's look at some data.