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

I tend to think at least 50 percent of the bad things that happen to me are my fault.

Sometimes, therefore, I'm slow to complain.

Or, at least, I spend time pondering why something isn't working for me rather than railing about it.

On Saturday night, my girlfriend and I were booked on what has been my favorite international airline, Virgin Atlantic.

Even when the planes got a little old, there was always something relaxed and slightly playful about getting on a Virgin flight.

These days, though, they're flying the Boeing 787 -- known as the Dreamliner.

So there we were, ready to board our plane at San Francisco International Airport.

I confess to looking out at the plane and comparing it unfavorably to the Air France Airbus 380 on the next stand.

The Airbus is a stately liner. The Dreamliner looked, in comparison, like a Greyhound bus that's been co-opted into flying.

No matter, I thought. This was a relatively new plane. Virgin will have bathed it in full Virginity.

We took our seats, 49A and 49B.

Yes, this was coach. Yes, the seats were narrower than your average HB pencil.

Still, the entertainment systems had always been good and the pilot promised a very quick flying time.

Once a perfectly passable dinner service was over and the cabin crew member had forgotten to bring us the red wine we'd asked for, we settled down to watch movies.

For me, the highly erudite Mike And Dave Need Wedding Dates.

As the night set in, I was beginning to feel I needed a massage. My bottom was experiencing a sore, sinking feeling.

Naturally, I began to blame myself.

You should have at least booked Premium Economy, you idiot.

You've put on weight, haven't you? Again.

I tried to sleep, but my bottom wouldn't.

It kept complaining. Actually, it felt as if my cheek was perched on a hard, solid surface, rather than a cushion.

Of course, I should have been a true American, pressed my call button in the middle of the night and made a scene about my buttocks.

Instead I toughed it out, got around an hour's sleep and spent the morning fascinated by the revolutionary window shades you can lighten or darken gradually.

It wasn't as if I could really get up to inspect my seat anyway. You can't swing a cat in economy. Frankly, it's hard enough to swing a finger.

We arrived at Heathrow and I stood up.

I looked down at my seat and noticed it was not the same color as the other seats.

It was a pure, brighter red, while the others were darker and with a pattern.

I examined it further. It was merely a red seat cover over a square piece of foam. In fact, it was attached by what looked like Velcro.

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I could easily tear it away from the metal beneath. Worse, it wasn't exactly thick. I pressed on my girlfriend's seat and it was far more cushion-like.

In essence, then, Virgin has slipped a thin piece of square sponge, faked it up to be a seat and hoped to get away with it.

I contacted the airline and sent it my picture, but sadly haven't received a response -- soft or hard.

I confess I've been writing more and more about airlines because I've become a lot less tolerant of them. Principally because airlines have become a lot less tolerant of the idea that passengers should be comfortable.

It seems as if they're prepared to get away with a lot more, in exchange for a lot more profit.

For airlines, it seems less really is more. Less for the passengers, more profit for them.

It's not as if the whole flight was awful. It's not that I'm now foaming at the gills and whining that I'll never fly Virgin again.

It's just that physical comfort is a basic that airlines are becoming ever happier to squish.

We spent seven hours at Heathrow before getting on our connecting flight -- London to Lisbon on Portugal's very pleasant TAP Airlines. This was an Airbus 320, a normal single-aisle, short-haul workhorse.

After 40 minutes in the air, my girlfriend said to me: "You know what? These seats are wider than on the Dreamliner."

Oct 26, 2016