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

It perplexed many.

It perplexed American Airlines CEO Doug Parker, but for different reasons.

You see, the airline took the entirely money-based decision to shove as many seats as possible into its planes, specifically its new Boeing 737 MAX jewels.

This resulted in reduced legroom--even in First Class. It resulted in bathrooms barely wider than the Economy Class seats.

Worse, he admitted that he wanted to shove even more seats inside and was only prevented from doing so by his own flight attendants

There has now come a day that few thought possible.

No, Parker hasn't decided to remove some of the seats or make the bathroom one inch wider.

Instead, he's actually flown on the 737 MAX. Reportedly.

In a Twitterized snippet, Skift's Brian Sumers offered this startling information: 

Breaking: I have learned @AmericanAir CEO Doug Parker has finally flown the Boeing 737 Max with the new tiny toilets.

Personally, I do feel broken.

I never imagined this day would come.

I wondered, however, whether he'd merely performed a hop from, say, New York to Miami, rather than allow his body to endure a longer flight--something the MAX planes have now begun to enjoy.

Sumers, though, revealed that this was a four-hour flight between Miami and Quito in Ecuador.

Naturally, I--and perhaps thousands of other American Airlines Economy Class passengers--wondered what Parker thought of the experience.

Was it better than he'd expected? Was it painfully uncomfortable, as some have claimed?

I contacted American Airlines to ask. An airline spokesperson offered me Parker's review: 

He said it was a nice main cabin experience--in line with U.S. carrier main cabin products with a couple of pleasant surprises. The overhead bins are large and it had a nice array of movies. But most of all, they had a great crew of Flight Attendants who kept customers happy.

Nice. Two nices.

That's not a word everyone who's flown in the plane has offered.

"It makes me feel claustrophobic," said View from the Wing's Gary Leff.

And, the wizened might mutter, if I was a flight attendant and I had the CEO in Economy, I'd probably make an extra effort, too.

I can't help, though, focus on the phrase "in line with U.S. carrier main products." 

It feels like: "Hey, it's Coach. Deal with it."

This might all seem to be a nourishing source of humor. And it is.

There's a reason.

If you're launching a new product--one that even your own flight attendants are saying is unpleasant--perhaps it's a good idea to try it for yourself first and see.

It's remarkable how much more positively human beings react to personal experiences.

Especially if you manage to make them sincere.

Published on: Aug 26, 2018