There's a certain amount of nostalgic talk about the "golden age" of air travel, when airlines had style, seats had space and flying was a comfortable, pleasant luxury rather than a messy, smelly, exhausting, time-consuming, unreliable, scary affair.
You can still fly in the comfort and enjoyment of that time. You just need to buy a business-class ticket for 4 times the price of economy. Airlines are still willing to treat you like people rather than cattle, as long as you have money. And, oddly enough, business-class tickets are proportionally about as expensive as it was to fly in the "golden age", too. So what's really happened is that corners were cut and concessions were made in order to bring air travel within reach of a much larger market.
Mokalus of Borg
PS - And cavity-search security. That happened, too.
PPS - You're also allowed to bypass that for money.