The American airline industry is an amazing beast.
They routinely sell inventory they don't have (the current euphemism is "We have an 'overbook situation'")--a business practice that would subject any other industry to a truckload of RICO indictments.
They enjoy strong oligopoly--if you want to get from, say, Portland to Des Moines in a day, you've really got one option--with extremely high barriers to entry.
They provide a uniformly unpleasant experience for the great majority of their customers.
They charge higher and higher fares for fewer and fewer amenities and options.
With congressional help, they have aggressively fought both labor demands and regulation of any sort.
And yet, even with the game so obviously rigged in their favor, they can't seem to stay out of bankruptcy court.