The hotel industry is a little better. Taj Hotels has a policy of upgrading to the next level of room or suite if available when you check in.
But for the most part hotels avoid upgrading, too, and we suggest at some cost.
Wouldn't the word-of-mouth and social media praise be worth it from customers grateful for surprise upgrades if they occurred more often?
6. Retire the beverage cart on short flights
Responsible for more mashed toes and dislocated elbows than the UFC, these 300-pound chariots of doom present passengers in aisle seats with a constant danger, cost airlines millions and keep us from hitting the head at precisely the moment we most need to.
To shave expenses, airlines have already done away with most food. The next logical step is ending the tiresome drink service that creates more trouble than it's worth.
For flights of two hours or less, hand out bottles of water and sell beer, wine and drinks in the departure lounge. This will save the airlines money and labor and, for customers, eliminate the risk of being sideswiped every five minutes by the polyestered haunch of an exhausted flight attendant horsing a Sisyphun weight up and down the aisle taking drink requests and barking orders -- "Keep your feet in!" "Watch your knees!" -- with all the élan of the guy who sits in the booth and weighs you in at the dump.
7. Just stop talking, please
The first port of call for most vacations -- the airport -- is invariably an unending and un-ignorable procession of barely decipherable Tannoy announcements, most of which are entirely superfluous.
Noise equals stress, so airports should be minimizing it wherever possible, not adding to it.
We know by now to keep our luggage with us at all times, that airports are non-smoking areas and if you have had to call Mrs. Bawdwallah nine times to "proceed immediately to gate number 12," it's safe to say she doesn't care or she isn't able.
And while you're at it, how about upgrading those 1930s-quality public address systems in airports and on planes?
8. Eliminate the paper trail
Why do we need a tissue-thin napkin every time someone on an airplane hands us four ounces of water in a urine-sample cup?
Former American Airlines chairman Robert Crandall once famously saved his company $40,000 a year by eliminating the olive from salads the airline once served onboard.
A small redwood forest could be recycled from the napkins airlines plow through each year.
9. Make booking more transparent
You think you've found the deal of a lifetime, till you click "checkout" and the price suddenly doubles due to the airport tax.
Or you spot an airline ad for "$10 deals" to the other side of the world, but you have to book on exactly the right day and on the right flight to take advantage and they don't mention when that is.
A little transparency from the start would go a long way to making the booking process far better.
10. Give us our phones back
If you can get a 300-ton hunk of iron and aluminum into the sky, surely you can figure out a way for us to use our iPads without it causing a disaster?