The Economist compares the two arguments for whose fault it is that Economy Class on flights has gotten so bad. Their conclusion:
We would perhaps have couched it in less confrontational language, but the reality is that customers are effectively demanding worse service. While we might say in surveys that we care about quality, when it comes to clicking the button to purchase a flight, we overwhelmingly choose an airline on price. And so carriers do everything they can to give us what we want: cheaper fares over a pleasant experience. This is the reason that Spirit Airlines, by far-and-away the most complained about airline in America, is hugely profitable, while Virgin America, a far more accommodating airline, has historically struggled to make a profit.
Bingo. Airlines can’t/won’t provide high amenities and low prices. There’s always exceptions to the rule, but when forced to choose between the two, people choose low prices.
Of course, those of us in the travel game have figured out how to have both.