Drilling companies pay to have another incentive to steal the cream of the crop. Also this only seems to be festering with a few long distance commuters.
I would hardly call airfare a "pittance" for a company like ECO with over 2000 marine personnel. If you truly don't believe a cost like that wouldn't cut into day rates for the rest of us, you need a reality check. Also if it's such a small expenditure, captains making 180,000+ a year shouldn't have a problem.
I simply can't grasp how some feel this should be expected. It wasn't expected when you went to the bayou job hunting, when you shook hands and took a job, or when you went through orientation and they explained the benefits package...but now it is.