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

It's a story of discomfort and despair.

Ever since American Airlines introduced the Boeing 737 MAX, the wails have been loud.

This is the plane that has bathrooms one American Airlines pilot called "the most miserable experience in the world."

Well, they're narrower than an average Porta-Potty,

American Airlines gave a good impression of not caring what anyone thought. Its CEO, Doug Parker, didn't even bother flying on the plane for the longest time.

He couldn't understand why anyone might think he should. When he finally got on it, his review was, well, please read it.

You might have thought, though, that the airline would fly this plane on busy, short routes.

You might also have thought that humans can live in sandcastles and Norway will have warm sunshine in December.

Thanks to the meticulous sleuthing of Brazil's Passageiro de Primera, it's been revealed that American is about to fly the MAX on a 7 hours and 50 minutes flight.

From Miami to Brasilia.

No, American didn't offer an announcement by loud-hailer. Why would it?

Please sit with me here, on my sofa with truly First Class legroom, and consider what these passengers will experience from May 4 next year.

They'll have no seatback screens. They'll have those tiny, tiny toilets. And, in First Class, they'll have something normally known as Premium Economy seating.

American believes that its 30-inch Economy Class seat pitch -- the distance between the back of one seat and the one in front -- feels like 31 inches.

Yet you, should you dedicate yourself to this endurance test, will soon realize that these seats are much thinner than the ones you've been used to for the last 20 years.

When you've sat in them for 7 hours, I suspect you'll wish you'd flown on a different plane.

You might ask, though, why American would fly this plane on such a long route.

The simple answer is: because it can.

It makes a judgment about what planes it has and the competition on that route. It believes that it can get away with making passengers suffer, because it'll still get the business.

The MAX is good for American's money-making enthusiasm. It's more fuel efficient and, of course, with those additional seats, it can generate more revenue. 

American also insists it has enormous benefits, such as bigger overhead bins and satellite Wi-Fi.

And it's not as if American's the only airline buying these things. Southwest ordered more than 200 of them -- but has chosen not to stuff them with quite as many seats as American.

I await with some fascination how First Class passengers, who used to fly in American's Boeing 757s with lie-flat seats, will now experience the MAX for an 8-hour run. 

Just imagine if, for some, um, operational reason, the plane has sit on the tarmac for an hour before takeoff. 

Oh, the pain of modern flying.

Published on: Nov 24, 2018