For some businesses, complexity raises costs. For example, because a pair of shoes sells for the same price regardless of size, it would be better for the footwear industry if we all had the same size feet and it didn't have to create dozens of patterns of varying widths and lengths of the same style shoe.

But for the travel industry, differentiation and complexity almost always provide opportunity. The more that airlines unbundle, the greater the number of differentiated cabins on a ship, the more ways in which a "standard room" can be valued, the better for the carriers, cruise lines and hoteliers.

And when complexity spills over into consumer confusion, it is travel agents who are the ultimate winners.

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