Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
Let talk bathrooms.
American Airlines' new, effortlessly cramped affairs, that is.
First inserted into the new Boeing 737 MAX and currently being shoved into most of the 737-800 fleet, these bathrooms have been described as "the most miserable experience in the world."
By an American Airlines pilot, that is.
American isn't alone in having these things. It has, though, become the symbol for them, as it seems to delight in customer discomfort. Sample: even First Class passengers enjoy reduced legroom in this new configuration, one that American has dubbed, irony cast aside, Project Oasis.
It seems, though, that not all passengers can deal with the new bathrooms.
The Chicago Business Journal's Lewis Lazare quoted one American Airlines Flight Attendant as saying of passengers:
Truthfully, I believe many hold it until they land because they know they can't fit.
What a frightful predicament.
The mere idea that you know you can't go because you might not get in -- or, worse, get out -- is torrid.
Worse, what happens if the plane suddenly has to circle for, say, another 30 minutes before landing at some busy airport?
Naturally, I asked American for its view and the airline declined to comment.
Recently I tried very similar bathrooms on a United 737 MAX flight. I found them mordantly humorous in their disregard for passenger comfort.
I didn't, however, get stuck.
Still, American is managing to deal with another problem concerning these tiny lavatories.
When there were two bathrooms facing each other in Economy Class, if their doors are open simultaneously, they actually hit each other.
So American is changing one of those doors into a folding door. Which opens inwards.
Why only one? Because larger people and those with disabilities appear to be, yes, struggling with getting inside a folding door 737 MAX-style toilet.
Now there's a surprise.
Indeed, I've heard stories of Flight Attendants struggling to help disabled people get into one of the toilets supposedly good for disabled people, so much so that on a United flight not so long ago, it took two Flight Attendants to help a disabled man into the toilet.
The next time he needed to go, the Flight Attendants took him to one of the folding-door toilets, left the door open and stood holding a curtain covering the toilet opening.
I think they call it progress. I'm sorry, I meant profit-making.