In the relatively short 3 decades I have worked in the travel industry, I have often been made painfully aware that that in old Latin, the root word for travel and the root word for trouble is the same word.
This is not a new problem. Humans have been suffering with travel troubles for millenia.
During most of that period, there has always been a solution - and it has generally been the same solution. One need only buy his/her way out of the middle class travel network. Once you find yourself in the premium category (or higher), most or all of those travel troubles magically disappear.
If I cannot fly first class, I stay home. It's just not worth the aggravation.
Flying First Class is wonderful. There is no nonsense, no extra charges, great food, and great service. Just like the good old days.
If I cruise, it must be in a suite. If I cannot afford the suite, I stay home until I can afford it. Cruising in a suite is just like the good old days. Everyone does whatever I need to make me happy. Nickel and diming? It never happens.
You can take your chances and try to travel on the cheap. You may get lucky. But if you do decide to gamble, you must realize that gambling - by it's nature - means you cannot win if you cannot lose.