My daughter hasn't flown many times but she's here to teach us there's a new "normal" in the airline industry. Out of a total of three-and-a-half round-trip flights, something has gone wrong three times. Meanwhile, out of many flights in my life I've only suffered two delays that were worth writing about - and the second occurred with her by my side last August, my first flight since 1992. I was lucky. Whenever I chose to fly the weather wasn't that bad. I'm sure if I was trying to take off from an airport in near-blizzard conditions or on a plane with a destination socked in by fog, I would have suffered similar delays. A mechanical problem created our delay this past August, and I applaud the policy that meant we had to wait until another plane arrived to take us.

What I'm talking about doesn't have anything to do with weather or mechanical problems. It also doesn't have anything to do with all the security measures that now exist. Sure, I don't like taking off my shoes - but I've learned I'm not the only person with stinky feet. What bothers me is that airlines have apparently decided their customers are a captive audience. Since they have to fly from point A to point B (with seven connections in between) the corporate decision has been made that no matter how much money customers are paying, it's just fine to treat them like cattle.

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