In 2014, passengers are more rattled when they enter the cabin than they were at the turn of the century. They’ve just passed through an hour or two of extra security measures. They’ve been scanned, prodded and told to remove their shoes. They’ve paid extra for a couple of pounds of oversized luggage. And in a post-Sept. 11 world — however irrational the fear when compared to safety statistics — their palms are likely to be sweating just a little bit more when they leave the ground.
Airline brands know this and have been working to streamline and tailor the experience of flying in the 21st century into as painless and anxiety-free an endeavor as possible. Among topnotch airlines, and regional competitors expanding into larger markets, there’s a race to provide as many creature comforts as possible: After all, the cushiest, safest, cheapest ride wins out in the end.