Consumers squeeze corps, corps squeeze consumers - agreed
Corps have industry trade groups and lobbyists, consumers have (in the USA) representatives and senators.
When it comes down to it, people decide what's ok and what's not. Corps are not people, consumers are. (except when it comes to campaign financing)
Having minimum standards sucks from the supply side, but their absence is much more damaging on the demand side. To use your analogy - ways to make flights cheaper would include doing away with seatbelts and emergency exits (the seals are a maintenance issue). Nobody uses them anyway. Also, would you even notice if aircraft inspections were reduced? The average consumer wouldn't either.