I am violating one of my own rules. I am flying on a U.S.-owned airline when it is not absolutely necessary. I am on Frontier flight 721 from Washington to Denver in the very back row in a seat that is for contortionists only. They shouldn't even use such a cramped space, even though it was the only seat available, even though I made the selection online 24 hours ahead. I'm told by both the ticket agent and flight attendant I should consider myself lucky I have it because we were overbooked. As always.

So for three hours I will re-experience the fetal position as I add Frontier to my list of airlines I'll try and avoid like the plague. Or I would if it wasn't the cheapest one available for my trip. I guess you get what you pay for.

Or not. No matter what you pay, it's the same hassle. The list of those not to avoid is awfully short. Even shorter than you have to be to fit in their seats. They all seem to operate on the same customer-be-damned business model that has become the industry standard ever since Deregulation.

It's times like these that many of us fantasize about RE-regulation. Of course, any such talk causes apoplexy among the airlines' apologists, who liken that to godless communism.

It's probably too late to return to an orderly system of air travel that is anything but torture. It's too far gone.

The fixes that are being proposed are really nothing more than multibillion-dollar band aids that will never make up for the money-grubbing predators who jam us into their torturous seats and sneer, "If you don't like it, don't fly".

Don't we wish we didn't have to? And let me close by admitting that I obviously have a point of view about this, that the airlines should be ashamed of themselves. Of course I believe that. I'm a passenger.

I freely acknowledge that I'm taking advantage of my forum in the hope that if enough disgusted passengers get fed up, maybe these greedy companies will actually be frightened into improving things. It's a faint hope, probably naive, but what the hell, it sustains me as I sit in a ball in the back seat by the bathroom on Frontier 721.