Imagine if airlines ran restaurants. We’d live in a world where a half sandwich, the equivalent of a one-way ticket, might cost two times as much as a whole sandwich.

The airline way of doing business is unique—few other businesses have as many rules and restrictions, taxes and fees, frustrations and disruptions. Not many other businesses have such varied and ever-changing pricing for their products. And rare is the business that hits its customers with penalties of hundreds of dollars.