Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

I worry about some CEOs.

They seem rather more concerned about money than about, say, customers and their experiences.

Recently, I wrote about Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson. He admitted he's never tried Airbnb, but his daughter had and told him he has nothing to worry about.

That must have been very reassuring.

Now, please meet American Airlines CEO Doug Parker. 

As View From The Wing reports, last week he enjoyed a chat with American Airlines' "Crew News."

This included employees asking him questions and hoping for answers. 

One Flight Attendant tried to explain that the airline's new Boeing 737 MAX planes have shoved so many seats in that the toilets are very, very small.

This has resulted in terrible issues, such as people splashing water all over themselves.

At least, I'm told it was water. 

The Flight Attendant explained: "The doors open in the lavs and nobody can get in or out. I don't know if you've been on it."

What do you think the CEO replied?

"I have not been on the MAX," he said. 

Wait, you've stuffed these new planes full of seats and you haven't bothered to at least experience what your customers are experiencing?

Apparently not. 

The Flight Attendant then explained how tight these planes are for space: "If you gain an ounce, you're not coming down the aisle, I assure you." 

Parker was asked whether the airline was going to do anything about it.

"Tell me what the issue is again, it's the bathrooms?" he asked, as if no one had even told him about this.

The Flight Attendant had to spell it out.

"In the aft of the aircraft the two bathroom doors open up and they lock into each other. so now you got people coming out of the bathroom into the galley and then we have to shut the doors, let them out, and let the next two people to use the restroom. And the sink, you get soaking wet because it's so small you can't get your hands in there, so it really has some design flaws."

It's odd that Parker claims not to know about any of this. It's odd that he hadn't heard noises from both customers and staff that this plane has a few essential issues.

After all, he recently admitted that he wanted to shovel even more seats onto planes and the only people who stopped him doing it were his own employees. 

I contacted American to ask why its CEO hasn't been on one of his own airline's new planes -- planes that are causing quite some controversy. 

An airline spokesman told me: "American Airlines President Robert Isom recently flew on the MAX to see it for himself."

I wonder what he thought. I wonder if he flew in Economy. I wonder whether he went to the restroom. If he did, I wonder if he splashed himself.

"The MAXes operated by American and other airlines use a standard lavatory offered by Boeing for that aircraft," added the spokesman. "As with any new aircraft, we are making some adjustments to improve the experience for customers. For instance, we've already solved the sink splashing issue by installing aerators. We're always looking for ways to improve the travel experience for customers and team members."

Always? I fear many customers might not agree.

It's surely indicative for customers, indeed -- as if they needed any more indications -- that American appears to be all about loving the lucre far more than the passenger. 

During this conversation, Parker also said that it was frustrating that all American's seats didn't have power outlets.

For him, it seems more important for the customer to know whether or not there will be an outlet -- so that they can charge their devices in advance -- than whether there is an outlet or not.

Oh. Ah.

Hmm.

Why the Best Travel Gadget You Can Buy Is a $30 Neck Pillow
Published on: Jan 14, 2018