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

And the tears begin to flow.

They come from American Airlines investors who suddenly realize the airline might not be able to squeeze as much out of pained customers as they'd hoped.

They come from the airline's executives, who really do believe that their company is a rollicking money-maker and are a touch miffed that they're not making enough money.

They come from passengers too. We'll get to them in a minute.

First, the bad news.

American isn't making so much money. Its second quarter results indicate difficult times, the pain of higher fuel prices and, perhaps, an excessive enthusiasm for making passengers uncomfortable. But we'll get to them in a minute.

American's profit forecast was cut. Cue the gasps.

Now let's cue all the bad news that comes with it.

The airline's deferring delivery of 22 Airbus A321neo planes. It's delaying the retirement of some Embraer E190s.

Worst of all, it's not going to retire as many Boeing 737-800s as it said it would.

Oh, and the airline's buying some second-hand planes too. They're cheaper.

For passengers, this means older planes for longer. Not that the new ones are terribly comfortable, you understand.

Even if you're in First Class, the legroom has been reduced. But at least you don't have to use the bathrooms that are only slightly wider than an Economy Class seat. (No, I'm not kidding.)

This isn't a cheery litany. This is the presager of less airline capacity and higher fares.

Oddly, American's results aren't in line with its main rivals. 

Last week, executives at United were leaping like fawns on happy mushrooms after the airline beat Wall Street forecasts. Delta, too, showed that it was doing well -- and even seeing the benefits of making passengers (a little) more comfortable.

Alright, let's talk about American's passengers now.

In order to make them feel slightly better about things getting worse, American happened also to announce today that it is, indeed, going to allow Basic Economy passengers to have carry-ons that go in the overhead locker.

This is something that was predicted a couple of weeks ago, as even Flight Attendants expressed their utter frustration in having to be the Bag Police.

Previously, passengers were becoming irate -- and worse, planes were leaving late -- because they didn't like the idea of no carry-ons for an (allegedly) cheaper price.

American Airlines CEO Doug Parker admitted on the earnings call that the airline had actually lost business by being so mean. 

Astonishingly, passengers began to work out that, say, Delta, wasn't quite as mean. And for the same price, too.

Tears of joy, then, from passengers. Well, sniffles.

Hey, when it comes to airlines you have to enjoy the positives wherever you can find them.

Published on: Jul 26, 2018