On the contrary, I think money is one thing most people deeply care about. Fare prices are part of the customer experience.
It may not be as evident in the US because the US3 hold enough pricing power to guarantee high profit margins. Their margins are significantly above the industry average.
The number of passengers and RPKs was growing at a rate of 3-7% each year pre-Covid, with the largest growth being in the Asia-Pacific region.
To clarify, I do agree that people care about cost. So if a new plane could really provide the same service at 10% lower cost, people would call that innovation.
It's claimed that fares have gone down, and maybe they have gone down on paper, but if you compare apples to apples the picture is a lot less convincing. For example, if I lived in Youngstown, Ohio, at one time I could get a 737 from YNG to MCO with a couple of bags. I'd get a meal and enjoy probably half the seats empty so I could stretch out and chat up a FA as she brought around coffee. Today, there is no commercial service out of YNG, so I have to drive an hour to CAK or CLE, pay a bag fee, buy my own meal and sit in an 80%-full cabin which means no stretching out. And I won't get there any faster. Maybe my raw ticket cost in constant $ is lower, but if you add up the total expense and try to value the degradation in convenience and comfort, I highly doubt it is actually cheaper. It probably costs $50 in gas and depreciation on my car just because of the extra drive.
You may argue that innovation has nothing to do with why YNG dried up, but that is not true. Building an airplane that could profitably operate out of YNG would be innovative, wouldn't it?
Some people will read this and think, "Here you go, some old codger who wants the good old days, when we all know they're never coming back," as if that's some kind of counterargument. Ask yourself, why do we accept that things have to get less convenient as time goes on? We haven't run out of any raw materials, and we're as smart as ever, so why do we get the same or worse results? It doesn't make any sense. It's as if we passed a law saying you can't have a MacBook, you have to live with a Kaypro, for the greater good.
The commercial airplane business is ripe for disruption. There are no physical constraints, only political ones. CFM is talking about open rotor and decarbonization on a roadmap going out to 2050 as if the current regime of international regulations is going to hold for 30 more years. Given the direction of international affairs, I really don't see that happening. A competitor is going to show up with a supersonic, comfortable, low-cost plane and fly it in a region that for local economic reasons decides to permit it, and the whole world is going to beat a path to their door.
Or, things don't change and in 2050 we're flying around on the 737-FGWRMITT (Final Generation We Really Mean it This Time) and going home to our shipping containers to eat bugs for dinner.