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

The minute you release the handle on your suitcase or bag, the minute an airline employee weighs it and takes it, you have no idea what might happen to it next.

You hope it has a comfortable journey.

You hope it doesn't get squashed.

Most of all, you hope its contents don't get stolen by some light-fingered airline or airport employee.

I have no idea what one American Airlines passenger might have been thinking when he checked his luggage for a recent flight from Pittsburgh to Fresno via Dallas. 

I have some idea what they thought when they opened their bag.

There were no subtractions. However, as View From the Wing's Gary Leff reports, there was an addition.

No, not a pile of cash, a gun, or a marsupial.

Instead, here was a slightly crumpled printed flyer supporting the airlines' mechanics.

Currently, they're in a dispute with the airline.

They're accusing American of using shoddy, cheaper facilities to repair planes.

One plane, say the mechanics, had 675 things wrong with it after a cheaper facility's work.

The mechanics also worry that the airline wants to outsource maintenance work abroad. 

One very dark suggestion is that American may start using inferior parts.

Indeed, the flyer in the customer's baggage pointed the reader to the AAShouldCare website, where the mechanics detail their issues with great vigor and portentous tone.

Naturally, the airline says it's investigating the flyer's insertion, one that surely sought customer sympathy. 

Many will find the idea that a union member might have done this a touch distasteful, counterproductive, and even a security issue.

And they'd be right. 

Then again.

If there was ever an airline that viscerally enjoys making money, it's American.

What if it took this idea and began to insert advertising into people's luggage?

Perhaps it could grade the luggage according to its provenance, its logo, or even its cleanliness.

It could, like Facebook, sell access to the very innards of individual passengers' lives and encourage brands to be creative.

Who wouldn't want their ad to be placed right next to a customer's cleanest undergarments?

Why, American could even approach cosmetics brands and suggest the discreet insertion of free samples. 

Perhaps Sports Illustrated would want to slip a free copy into, say, checked golf clubs.

Yes, passengers might be put out at first.

But if there's one thing Americans love, it's something for free. 

And just think how much American Airlines could charge brands for the privilege.

Why, it could even offer check-in staff and baggage handlers a commission for each ultimate sale.

Yes, I'm joking. I think.

But every airline I know is now deeply involved in employing technology to personalize the travel experience. 

What could be more personal than a carefully chosen ad or gift in your fine Louis Vuitton suitcase?

Published on: Apr 3, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.