I respect and most certainly understand your opinion [I had it for years], but I can not agree with it.
The fact of the matter is that the traditional carriers [BA, LH, AF, KL, SN...you name them] were born in a world regulated by bilaterals. These carriers in fact were apart from OPEC the worlds biggest cartel!
They have charged their customers way too much for ages. Air travel was never, never ever exposed to the laws of the free market until quite recently. Therefore airtravel had become terribly expensive, and was not really customer orientated. The only customers that mattered were the high yield first [and to a lessor extent] the business class pax.
Furthermore due to the lack of real competition over the previous 50 years [it all started with the treaty of Chicago 1944], the structure and management of the traditionals has become like a dinosaur, big, ugly, slow moving. If they don't adapt to current market conditions they're heading for extinction. Just look at pilot salaries, which in my opinion is the ultimate proof that they were never really exposed to the laws of the free market.
In a real free market place like many other businesses: if your company doesn't perform, or if you charge your customers too much for the product you deliver, you're out of business because there are lots of competitors out there who can and will outperform you. These practices/rules of free trade are only now starting to become effective to air travel. This is the first step for aviation, air travel to maturity! Mind you, it will take another 15 to 30 years to mature...
Who wants all that service on a one hour flight from LON to AMS/BRU
/FRA etc.? These low cost carriers [VEX does not really qualify as a LCC] prove that there is a huge market out there for people who just want to go from A to B, at the cheapest price possible. I applaud these LCC for doing so!
However, over the years the travelling public has become accustomed to a "normal" level of service that for the most part they don't need and never asked for in the first place. With LCC [as MOL put it] you get what you pay for: you pay shit, you don't get any service whatsoever. The downside off course is that a lot of people don't realise that beside the no-service on board, they also don't get services like: cancelling rights, changing tickets, rebooking when flights are delayed, rebooking to other airlines to limit delay, no hotel service when the flight is delayed to the next day, large travel distances to the airport etc.etc.etc. But this is part of learning process, growing up process.
Just look at the USA how the LCC have emerged, learned and matured: Southwest [the mother of all LCC], jetBlue, Airtran, etc..
LCC are not unsafe. They may very well be more safe than your average medium airline, since LCC subcontract virtually everything. Maintenance is subcontracted to the dedicated maintenance providers, people who now what their business is about. They are all closely monitored by the aviation authorities.
I think the age of glory in air travel is over. Those "golden years", where aviation was something special, are over. Air travel is now maturing, it is a product, nothing special anymore. And the cheaper that product becomes, the more people can and will be able to use it. When something special [like air travel] becomes available for the mass, we generally refer to that as progress, welfare! I don't have a problem with that...
Just my two eurocents...
Immigration officer: "What's the purpose of your visit to the USA?" Spotter: "Shooting airliners with my Canon!"