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

You've likely been on a diet recently.

When friends have asked, you've muttered: "Well, I've got a long flight coming up and airline seats are just so small these days."

You'd think, though, that airlines were very aware that they're trying to squeeze passengers ever more, so the airlines can shove more seats onto their planes and make more money.

You'd also think that ice cream is made from the skins of wolves.

American Airlines CEO Doug Parker has already admitted that he'd like to insert even more seats onto his planes -- and only his Flight Attendants have told him it's a bad idea.

Last week, however, I was temporarily turned into Lot's wife on hearing some words emerging from American's senior vice president of integrated operations, David Seymour.

Chatting with Bloomberg, he expressed how pained he was about American's tiny new bathrooms, which are being installed in much of its fleet.

They measure, according to the airline, 22.4 inches across. Yes, a mere 5 inches more than an Economy Class seat.

They've already been described by one American Airlines pilot as "the most miserable experience in the world."

So how bad does Seymour feel about this misery?

"You're talking inches. We're not talking feet," he told Bloomberg. 

An interesting juxtaposition of personal pronouns, to be sure. But, to my ears, these words carried a tinge of "Oh, cry me a river. Nah, cry me the Atlantic."

It's not as if he stopped there. He seemed to suggest a certain lack of awareness of how, just as airplane seats and bathrooms are getting smaller, human beings are getting bigger.

"I don't know how big of a population falls into 'I can't move around in it,'" he said.

You'd think an airline might at least have reached for the data, if only for its own entertainment. You'd think it might have experimented with human being of various sizes, or, as with one example offered by Bloomberg, a father and a small child.

Technically speaking, there are now more Americans who are obese than merely overweight.

I'm not suggesting this is a good thing. I am suggesting that airlines may not give a single hoot. These new bathrooms are 75 percent of the size they used to be.

And you think airlines aren't researching how to make them even smaller? Please take a look at this prototype, which offers only a men's urinal.

It's not as if American is alone in seat reduction and bathroom shrinkage. United has also ordered the Boeing 737 MAX 9 planes, the ones with the pioneering tiny loos. 

I asked United for the precise measurements of its bathrooms. It passed me along to Boeing, which didn't immediately respond.

The trend for squeezing isn't likely to change. Even though Delta just announced a bizarre step toward civilized light by actually increasing the size of Economy Class seats in its Boeing 777-200 planes.

I fear other airlines may not follow suit.

You're talking inches, dear passenger. Inches that make a huge difference to you, perhaps.

But some airlines will only pay attention to your whining -- maybe -- when they take away feet.

Or will they just say: "Come on, It's just 12 inches."?

Published on: Jul 14, 2018