Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
In today's world of calamity and collusion, it's easy to miss the good news.
Somehow, it lurks in tiny corners, away from the light and from public scrutiny.
One such marvelous piece of news did just that this week.
For weeks now -- oh, it's probably years -- I've been bemoaning airlines' tendency to make planes more uncomfortable.
Perhaps the apogee was the new airline saddle seats that give you slightly more legroom than skinny jeans, while demanding you sit upright.
Yet in has galloped JetBlue, in the dead of night, to make an astounding announcement.
Its press release offered a heady promise.
"JetBlue Brings Humanity Back to Air Travel All Over Again," it said.
No, this couldn't be possible. Why would any airline want to bring humanity back when airline inhumanity is all the rage?
And causing all the rage.
Yet here was JetBlue crowing about its new Airbus A320 cabin design.
Look, I wanted to focus on one particular aspect, as I think this borders on the psychotically shocking.
The airline is expanding the width of its seats.
Yes, as in making them wider.
More than 18 inches wide, it says.
Rarely, if ever before, has an airline nodded to the fact that human beings are getting bigger, rather than smaller.
Rarely, if ever before, has an airline actually done something about it to make passengers more comfortable.
Here, though, was JetBlue claiming to offer the widest available seat for the A320.
Oh, yes, there was other stuff too.
Enhanced cushion comfort, for example. And adjustable headrests. There's "contoured seatback design at knee level creates additional living space for every customer."
Living space? Have you ever even heard of such a concept on an airplane? In Economy Class, I mean.
There's even some innovation, said JetBlue. For example, "an innovative elastic grid to accommodate a variety of customer items."
And finally: "At least two easily-accessible and repositioned power connections at every seat."
Of course, I was leaping up and down.
But then there was a little detail that might have escaped some eyes.
The airline declared it was offering "the most legroom in coach of any U.S. airline (a)."
I looked to the bottom of the press release.
In tiny letters lay an explanation of the (a): "JetBlue offers the most legroom in coach based on average fleet-wide seat pitch for U.S. airlines."
I began to get suspicious. This was bathed in a little too much legalese for my taste.
I focused hard and the pitiful truth emerged.
The seat pitch (the distance between the back of one seat and the back of the one in front) in the airline's Core seats -- Economy Class to you -- is actually being reduced.
From 34 inches to 32.
Why? So that the airline can shovel in around 12 more seats. Just like American and the rest.
It seems that bringing humanity to air travel has its painful limits.
There I was so excited about the wider seats.
The mere notion that an airline would do this made my stomach feel as if it had just enjoyed an intravenous injection of excellent Anderson Valley Pinot Noir.
It was as if the American people had decided to put down their guns and perform a Morris Dance all over their neighborhoods.
And then, agony.