The concept of service in the US has changed significantly from Europe.
Basically in the US, they want to get you to your destination on time and efficiently. They don't care about all the luxuries.
In Europe and other countries, they still believe in treating you like a king. They expect for you to expect excelent and quality service when you do business with them.
So basically when you fly on a foreign carrier you are paying for 2 things, transportation to your destination, and the good service. While in the US it is mostly just transportation to your destination.
We have changed quite a bit from the rest of the world. You won't see stewards and stewardesses wearing shorts on foreign airlines like you see on Southwest.
Although generally in whole, airline service has dropped since the golden days. During the good old days of the DC-3, Lockheed Constellation, etc. you had big comfortable seats with PLENTY of legroom. Now in order to get that sort of service you have to fly First Class. Even nowadays, First Class isn't as comfortable as the seating was in the golden days for air travel.
During the Flying boats days, you would have your own room with bathroom and sink.
It's completely changed now. These days airlines want your money, get you where you want to go quickly and promptly, and dump you and take on a load of other passengers.
"Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need." - Khalil Gibran