The worst summer in a decade for the air traveler turned into the most lucrative for the airline industry. Carriers' profits soared on overbooking that led to cramped conditions and a quarter of all flights arriving late, the LA Times reports. Consumer groups are furious. "They're making money hand over fist at the expense of passengers," says one advocate.
Were it not for rising oil prices, airline profits would have been in the stratosphere. "It was the best quarter since 9/11," says an analyst. Fares stayed manageable this year, and more people flew this summer than ever, the Times says. But it's not just airlines' fault—the archaic air traffic control system also badly needs an update.