We get what we deserve from budget airlines

We're dazzled by return airfares to Hawaii for less than $500, Thailand for $450 and the Maldives for $650 but every flyer hates the tight seating, the lousy treatment, the extra-cost-for-everything that comes when we fly with a low-cost airline, yet that's exactly what we're paying for.

Experience proves to airlines that some passengers will put up with any level of discomfort and humiliation to score the cheapest possible flight.

Scott Kirby, president of United Airlines, confirmed as much when he admitted recently, "Seat pitch has come down because that's what customers voted with their wallets that they wanted".

As they probe the limits of human tolerance, airlines are responding to market demands.

You get what you pay for, and we're paying less than before for air travel.

Back in the 1980s a full-time worker on the average Australian wage took over a month to earn enough pre-tax dollars to buy a return air economy ticket from Melbourne to London.

A decade ago that same worker took two weeks to earn enough to buy that same ticket.

Today, that ticket can be had for just one week's work.

After a month's work however, today's average-wage earner has enough pre-tax dollars to buy a business class seat to London.

If you want better service, legroom, an airline that treats you like a valued customer it's there. All you have to do is pay for it.