Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.
People love to commiserate over their air travel experiences, but 2011 was the "best year ever" for airline performance, according to the Airline Quality Rating report released Monday in Washington. The study said air travelers were less likely to be bumped, less likely to lose their luggage and more likely to arrive at their destinations on time. Our readers commented that those numbers don't tell the whole story.
One reader said the subjective experience of flying nowadays has changed along with those numbers.
ec7967: "Passengers 'don't think so' because, while fewer people have to deal with a misplaced bag or an extra half hour sitting at the gate, everything else about flying has become lousy. Part of that isn't anyone's fault, mind you - security has become an unfortunate necessity - but it is what it is. You can't bring your own drinks on the plane, you can't get free food on the plane, you can't check your bag for free, you can't get on the plane without being patted down or walking through an X-ray machine, etc. And while you might consider more full flights to be a good thing, most passengers will not. The idea of getting a row to yourself, or being able to get up and move to a different seat at a whim, was one of the simple pleasures of flying that have completely vanished."
There was an interesting debate about the current state of airlines. Many argued that we pay much less for our airline trips nowadays, and that's what people really want. So would you be willing to pay more to have a nicer flight experience? Really? Seriously?
Surfstud31: "Airline travel sucks anymore. I feel bad for the people who can't remember what it was like to fly 30 years ago. You actually got fed (for free), didn't pay for bags, didn't pay for extra legroom seats, you could smoke (OMG!), you could take your shampoo and toothpaste, and best of all you didn't have to subject yourself to a humiliating strip search every time you entered an airport. Oh, how times have changed. And not for the better."
Mat Hill: "You also paid a LOT more in inflation adjusted dollars before deregulation. I'll take cheaper."
Rachel Huntress: "Glad no one is blowing smoke in my face on the plane these days ..."
Of course, this person and others longed for the good old days.
aaronavtr85: "To think there was a day when people loved to fly ... when TSA never existed ... when 'hijack' wasn't even a word ... when the whole plane was first class ... when you didn't have to take off almost all of your clothes just to get on board ... when full-course meals were complimentary ... when flight attendants had good attitudes (and were very attractive) ... when pilots didn't go AWOL in mid-flight ... when all bags flew for free. Look at how the human element has changed all of that. We did this to ourselves."
This reader wants to take the train instead.
Light_Horizon: "Best year ever for U.S. airlines ... worst year ever for U.S. airline passengers. I love to fly, but flying in an airliner is at best an annoying chore. I'd rather take a train if I have time. Speaking of trains, is it only a matter of time before Americans are clinging to the sides and roofs of airliners like the Indians do on their trains?"
Still, this reader is pretty happy with the way things are.
Steve2579: "Air travel seems to have gotten better the last year so this report may actually be accurate. My fiancee and I are flying U.S. Airways next week so I hope that is still the case."
Better off on a bus?
TelstarII: "Air travel in the U.S. is a joke. Horrible service. Horrible airports, most of which are decades old and untouched. Poor transportation connections. Utter squalor, like the bus lines of old."
This reader blamed an overemphasis on money cuts.
SteveinMN: "Bumping is down because there are now penalties for doing it. Lost luggage is down because fewer people do it, since you get bent over on a per-bag basis. Follow the substantial money, and there remain no mysteries. Any improvements are about dollars, not about caring about customers."
Recent news events tell yet another story, said this reader.
Tomk777: "This announcement comes after a month when one flight attendant went berserk and had to be restrained by fellow workers, not one but two passengers went off the deep end and were forcibly restrained, and now a JetBlue pilot went nuts and had to be tied up during a flight. Yes, we really are in the golden days of air travel."
Well, what do you think? Is it about price? Service? What's the solution? Share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on CNN.com. Or sound off on video via CNN iReport.
Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.