The complacency comes from the realization that nearly all consumers buy on price and convenience and people need airlines because, in this busy country, it is the only way to maximize one's little vacation.
Too few trains that are too slow.
Cars that can't get us long distances in a short time.
Too little time so we must get their fast.
Lowest price is king.
So pack them like cattle, unbundle the "extras" so the price looks lower, cut back on employees providing the "service" and merge to reduce competition. All these make for lower prices (what customers want) and more profits (what the airlines want).
Loyalty programs always worked better for business customers. They fly more, they don't pay for their own fare and they (not their companies) reap the benefit of loyalty programs. I took my family on a lot of free trips including a number of business/first class to Europe on my company travel and stayed at a lot of free hotels but not once did I ever use those points on company travel. Once I retired and stopped traveling so much and started paying for it myself, I selectively made trips and stayed at hotels based on price and convenience, not on loyalty.
For many who traveled a lot like I did, I could join every loyalty program and reap benefits on virtually all of them.