I must be luckiest man in regard to air travel. I hear and read about the trials and tribulations that people go through and I have experienced little of it.
Yes: I have to be patted down each time I go through security. Never have been disrespected or treated with anything other than professional behavior. Well, this guy in Poland was sort of jerk but I think it was cultural and not personal.
I have flown hundreds of thousands of miles, probably close to a million by now, and though I have experienced late flights, canceled flights, a few bumpy flights, it is not the norm.
Do I like the seats in current aircraft? No, but they are tolerable, even for my 6'2" 250 pound body, on a twelve hour flight. I would love to just appear at my destination but if I want to see the world I have to put up with some discomfort. If I can upgrade, I will, but I won't fork over $5,000+ for five to twelve hours of a little more space.
A few things I do to make air travel easier are:
1. Get to the airport in plenty of time. A lot of the "issues" I see and hear about are having to wait for security and rushing through the airport to make it to the gate on time. You know there will be lines and that planes board at least 30 minutes before departure so plan accordingly.
2. Never schedule a flight so, that in the event you miss it, your travel plans are ruined. i.e. Don't fly in on the day of a cruise. Don't get a flight with anything under a 90 minute layover.
3. Use airport lounges. If you don't have airport lounge access, I suggest paying for a day pass if you have a longer layover. I have the Amex Platinum Card which comes with Priority Pass and it gives access to airport lounges all over the world. Most of these lounges offer comfortable seating, food (some of it dang good), drinks, showers and private areas. This is, in itself, worth the higher annual fee of the card.
4. Like in cruising, don't sweat the stuff you can't control. If you get singled out for a pat down then just go with it. I would lay money on it that the man or woman who is giving you a pat down isn't getting any thrill out of it either. I have seen a few instances where it wasn't the TSA agent who was out of line it was the traveler.
5. Don't just go "cheap". If you have to pay additional to get a flight with a better schedule, reasonable layovers and on a decent airline then bite the bullet.
Yes: There are probably a lot of things, in regard to travel, that I put up with that others don't but guess what? I have more fun and less stress.