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

The truly absurd part of how airlines behave is that they act as if some of the things they do are perfectly normal.

Not so long ago, I wrote about British Airways passengers having to pay double -- $6 -- in order to get a strong cup of tea, instead of a weak one.

Now, I hear of something that might make hackles rise and moods fall.

The airline is now testing whether to give passengers water for free on short-haul flights. 

Yes, I know this is something you once thought basic. 

Yet the word basic is now permanently attached to the word economy, a class where the only basic thing you get for free is a middle seat.

It's a nickel-and-diming principle that airlines have tried to expand as much as they can get away with.

Now, it seems that guilt may be taking hold.

As God Save The Queen reports -- I'm sorry, I mean God Save The Points -- BA is experimenting with not only offering free water, but free tea and coffee too.

This all sounds civilized in a way that only British things can. 

There's something else about British things -- and I'm allowed to say this, as I still have a red British passport.

The Brits do like their snobbery.

So the free water (and tea and coffee) experiment is being limited to Silver and Gold Executive Club members. 

Please imagine that you're sitting next to someone and you're craving water. 

The person next to you asks for some and gets it without demur or charge.

You, on the other hand, are told "You're not Silver or Gold, are you? You're just a regular, basic old blue pleb. So cough up some money."

It wouldn't make you think the airline endearing, would it?

What can you do, though? If the airline wants to pander to its more regular customers -- who happen to be sitting next to you -- it's a way of making you feel shame. 

Or, perhaps, disgust.

You can also decide it's a way of making frequent flyers feel better, even when they're slumming it in the back of the plane with the likes of you.

And wouldn't you like to be treated like that? Wouldn't you adore getting free water?

Either way, it shows the torture airlines are going through in attempting to make even more money.

You have to feel sympathy for them, don't you?

Published on: Apr 4, 2018