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

No matter what optimistic twaddle Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk might offer, the nuisances of travel will never disappear.

Everyone who flies usually leaves their house wondering not so much about their destination, but about what might get in the way of their enjoying getting to their destination.

Little problems become big. Big problems become unbearable.

This year, there have been a few.

The government shutdown, the often bizarre weather, the proliferation of labor disputes and the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX have all contributed to passenger despair.

In the spirit of solidarity, please let me offer you the latest little problem.

You see, the MAX may not fly again this year. Indeed, with constant news dribbling out of additional software issues with the plane, who knows when it might fly at all?

There are two airlines most affected. Southwest Airlines had 34 operational MAX's. American Airlines had 24.

You might have hoped they have enough planes to cover at least most of the flights scheduled for the MAX.

Yet the difficult truth that emerged last week is that these two airlines will have to keep flying planes that were due to be retired.

As Skift reported, American confessed on its earnings call that it'll have to keep flogging some Being 737s, 757s and Airbus 320s to beyond their sell-by date in order to cope with the very strong current demand.

Oddly enough, Southwest has reached the same conclusion, keeping some Boeing 737-700 planes -- also a touch ancient -- from retiring.

This doesn't mean these airlines won't still be canceling some of their flights.

But it does mean some passengers will be getting on planes and finding them a little worn.

Those who bathe in optimism -- especially those who fly American -- might snort that at least some of the older planes may not have enjoyed the sort of makeover that stuffed even more seats inside them -- the so-called Oasis configuration of the 737 MAX.

It may, therefore, be a tradeoff between planes with fewer seats and a very worn interior and shiny planes with bus-like thin seats, bathrooms fit only for gnats, and a reduction of legroom even in First Class.

Passengers, of course are used to little hardships. 

I flew two of United's MAX planes not so long ago and there weren't too many whiny voices.

Often, though, when you get on an old plane you know it. 

It feels a little different and smells a little different.

Then again, the most delightful American Airlines flight I've had for some time came at the end of last year on a really rather old Boeing 767.

Please fly in hope and never let expectations influence you too much.

If you can.

Published on: Aug 4, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.