Blizzard has removed, as of patch 5.2, the automatic discovery of level appropriate flight paths. According to blue poster Sapperwix, “This was an intentional change. Learning flight paths based on level was originally a change to ease the transition into Cataclysm. Apologies for the inconvenience, but having to go out into the world, explore new zones and flight paths is the intended design.” (Source)
I suppose if you are following the incredibly linear questing that was introduced in Cataclysm, you will, for the most part, find flight paths naturally as you go. However, players are now more likely than ever to rapidly out-level questing content simply by doing the quests, never mind taking detours into dungeon running or PVP. So the next quest hub it makes sense to move to may very well be several zones away.
I suppose you could find a friend with a two person flying mount to transport you around, if you don’t feel like using 60% mount speed to run halfway across a continent. Of course, thanks to CRZ, if your friend flies across a zone boundary you are likely to plummet to your death and/or get disconnected from the server.
I get that they want people out in the world. But running across zones to get to the next place you can quest isn’t fun, and it doesn’t feel like “exploration” to me, it feels like a goddamned chore.
I leveled my first character in early 2009, when riding was not available until level 30. I’m not sorry I missed the years when it was not available until 40, and given my alt obsession I am very pleased that they eventually dropped it to level 20. It was a great quality of life change. The addition of automatic flight paths in Cataclysm was also a quality of life change. Removing it now just feels like a punishment.