Well, damn, my beloved Silverjet is grounded. Great idea, great service, terrible timing, what with record oil prices, a credit drought, a recession, and a sucky dollar. There goes the last hope of an independent example of a service based on the quality of service in the air.

And flying today is pure misery, which is proving to be very bad for business:

Some air travelers prefer to stay home rather than suffer through flight delays and cancellations, a loss of about $9 billion in potential revenue for an industry desperate to offset the soaring cost of fuel, a new survey showed Thursday.

In a survey of 1,003 travelers by the Travel Industry Association, more than half said they were fed up with flight delays and blamed airlines for the deteriorating state of U.S. air travel. They also prefer to stay home, or take alternative transportation such as a bus, train or car.

“Many travelers believe their time is not respected and it is leading them to avoid a significant number of trips,” said Allan Rivlin, a partner at Peter D. Hart Research Associates, which helped sponsor the survey. “Inefficient security screening and flight cancellations and delays are air travelers’ top frustrations.”

The TIA estimates that more than a quarter of U.S. air travelers cancel about two trips a year to avoid dealing with security, delays and cancellations. That translates into a loss of about 41 million passenger tickets at an average roundtrip price of $700.

When lost revenue for hotels, restaurants and taxes are factored in, flight delays are costing the U.S. economy about $26.5 billion, the survey showed.

Bad service is bad business.

Unimaginative business is also bad business. Rather than trying to make the business work charging us for every breath, maybe the airlines should be looking at alternatives: advertising or gambling on the plane and even this.

Meanwhile, I think I’ll be looking for alternative means of transporation.