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

It's one of those annoyances airlines can't always control and passengers can't help losing their equilibrium over.

You get to the airport and discover that your flight is delayed due to weather.

Or, perish the thought, canceled.

The constantly caustic suspect that the word weather may encapsulate many other operating factors.

Whether or not all the cabin crew have turned up for work, for example.

Still, when thunderstorms are evident, many passengers want to know why it's their flight that's affected rather than, say, another on the airline's schedule.

A pulsating article on Skift revealed that different airlines seem to have very different ingredients when considering their cancellation priorities.

American Airlines, for example, looks at many factors before deciding that certain passengers will suffer the stings and harrowing cries of outrageous fortune.

Please prepare yourself for the pain.

One factor that seems to loom significantly in the operational decision-making is, oh, money.

As Scott Ramsay, American's managing director for dispatch operations, put it: 

We know what the most highly profitable routes are.

No, no. Please say it isn't so.

Please say that keeping the CFO happy isn't more important to American than, say, getting the most people to their destination as possible.

But wait, there's more. And, depending on your status in life, worse.

It seems that the hard-working people who make American's painful decisions are aware of exactly how many platinum types are on each flight -- and even how many paid actual money, as opposed to enjoying the fruits of an upgrade.

It's awkward when you've allowed your brand to become the most shiny symbol of profit-before-people, as some feel American has.

It's a little more awkward if it seems money factors -- and elite passengers -- have considerable sway with regard to cancellations.

Especially when you compare it with Southwest's claim.

The Bernie Sanders of airlines insists that the most important thing is getting the most people possible to their destinations.

Southwest's senior director of operations control, Steve West, put it like this: 

Primarily, what we are looking at is, how can we get the most customers and bags to their destination on-time. But sometimes those objectives are counterproductive, so the secondary object is to try to get as many people to their destination, even with a delay.

At heart, both of these approaches reflect (the current perception of) these airline's brands.

American Airlines executives have always been blessedly open about their priorities. They know the airline has an excellent network and a fine international product for the more monied types. 

Domestically, well, it's shrunk the hopes and legroom of many.

Still, they believe theirs is the best way to run their particular business.

Many passengers book according to price. Many fly an particular airline only once a year.

As Allegiant Air's CEO Maury Gallagher recently mused about passengers: 

They don't give a damn about your airports nor do they give a damn about the interior of my airplanes.

Of course many factors come into consideration when it comes to cancellations.

For example, weather can displace planes and crews. You might want not to cancel a flight, but you simply can't get it done. 

Especially when airlines don't leave too much margin of error these days.

It may be, however, that in some pleading recess of the human mind many might wish acting for the benefit of the most should be the prime consideration.

Oh, what are they saying? Life doesn't work that way, does it? 

Ask any Flight Attendant -- and I do.

The priorities are set at the top and those who do the truly stressful work have to follow them.

Published on: Sep 1, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.