But how do you explain the fact that they used to simply put you on the next free flight if you missed your plane, but now charge you hundreds of dollars for the privilege?
Because the free market doesn't mean goods and services are free? Airlines want to maximize profits? Rising jet fuel prices?
The free hand of the marketplace took hundreds of her dollars out of her pocket, but that's okay because now her behavior will modify and she'll never miss another plane, or she'll find another airline that won't raise prices when the others do, which ought to be easy. Any attempt to restrain the practices of the free market will result in millions of deaths. Also.
ADDED: McArdle in the comments: (Thanks, Clever Pseudonym!)
[...] I recently missed a flight because of a traffic jam, and they charged me a $150 change fee, plus the "fare difference"--i.e. what I would have been charged had I booked the flight that day. The plane was far from full. Since the seat was a wasting asset, this was a matter of "because I can".
Our little darlin' of deregulation should realize that other people will just laugh at you when you suffer the consequences of the policies you advocate.
BONUS! Flashback Megan, from July, 2008:
Like everyone else, I hate the delays and various indignities of flying. On the other hand, I like the fact that it's costing me $100 to fly to Tampa to pick up my car in two weeks; absent deregulation, that trip would cost a lot more than twice that amount. I think it's telling that complaints about deregulation of the airlines come almost entirely from three groups of people:
1) People who have no idea what they are talking about
2) Affluent people
3) People who fly a lot for work
The third group, especially, would like to basically cut the bottom out of the market, so that coach is a vastly more pleasant experience. They don't care that this will raise prices, because they aren't paying for the tickets--most of them probably don't particularly care if this means that they fly less. But of course, the only way to raise the level of service is to raise the cost, which means a lot of people who don't have jobs that send them hopping from city to city wouldn't be able to fly at all. Remember the Brady Bunch trip to the Grand Canyon? You young people may not remember, but that's what all family vacations used to look like. You may climb into the back of a station wagon for a two day trek to Canada, but I'll take flying, thanks awfully.
Suck up those fees, sister! Would you rather have a regulated airline or one that is kicking itself because it doesn't yet offer pay toilets? (Now that's a captive market!)