When I travel these days, I find myself laughing. Constantly. Because if I don't, I will probably end up committing several violent acts against someone. From rude airline employees, to dirty planes, to filthy restrooms, to inconsiderate passengers... I've really had it. But I realize that I have no options. If I want to go across the country today, I must fly.

And so it comes as no surprise that airline passenger complaints are up 60%. The culprits for these complaints included overbooked flights, canceled flights, and late arrivals. It's no longer possible to count on getting to where you need to be, when you need to be there. Frankly, the airlines really don't care much about the passengers anymore. We are simply cattle in the air, being herded to the next destination, with airline executives hoping the fuel doesn't cost more than what we've paid for our tickets.

Is air travel going to change any time soon? Not likely. As fuel costs continue to go up, the airlines will keep looking for ways to cut costs. We, the passengers, are no longer customers that airlines wish to woo with good service, clean airplanes, and a few minor amenities. Instead, we're the target of rising ticket prices, cuts in service, additional fees for daring to take suitcases on our trips, and overall poor customer service. We are just another line on their financial statements, and we're getting to be a bit of a bother. And as airlines go out of business one by one, we can only expect things to get worse before they get better.

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.

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