So my son is flying to see his mom but flying standby. An earlier flight cancelled and the flight he was supposed to be on ended up being overbooked and having to go in the morning. Tomorrow is equally complex and I have spent the last five hours playing travel agent and am not done yet... Not to mention, I need to now get up and start again in the AM because the direct flight from where he is now is also oversold so had to rebook him through another city THEN to his mom's town....
Flying seems to be a real PITA these days considering the over-booking, up-charges for carry-on bags, snacks, etc. Last time I flew was 1984, and I don't plan on it anytime soon (ever). Real simple back then.
Gone are the days when most airlines flew their planes at only 60 or 70% of capacity, leaving plenty of room for standbys, non-revs, and discretionary upgrades. Nowadays, nearly all flights are routinely flown at 90% capacity and above, leaving very little room for those flying standby or those who misconnect, suffer a weather delay, et cetera. The only way to enjoy flying is to pick an airline alliance, fly it enough to earn status, and then use those status perks to make the journey bearable. I routinely fly a minimum of 50,000 miles every year and have done for nearly 12 years in a row now. It takes a considerable amount of planning, flexibility, and know-how, but if you're willing to devote the time and effort, the rewards are superb. But it is an obsession. If you don't have the time or the inclination to become obsessed and play the status game, you might as well just go Greyhound. The experience is about the same ;-D
I always hear about how bad flying today has gotten but I have no problems to speak of. Maybe it is just the times and locations that I have needed to fly, but in the last few years it has never taken me more then 15-20 minutes to get my tickets, check bags and get through security. Also all the flights cost me less than half of what it cost me just for gas to drive.