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

I was curious.

I was also in a curiously good mood.

I was returning from SXSW in Austin, where I'd sat on a panel talking about, oh, how one day ads will click on you, rather than the other way around.

People laughed in the right places. They even applauded at the end. It was oddly heartening.

To add to the general feeling of wellness, my United Airlines flight was on time. 

Even when I discovered that my thoughtless, selfish fellow passengers had already filled the overhead bins with their oversized roller bags, I was stunned to find plenty of room under the seat in front of my Economy Plus seat for my modest little carry-on. 

My soul, as well as the captain, was telling me to sit back, relax and enjoy the flight.

Then a voice inside my head said: "Don't do it."

I'd been warned, you see. I'd been told that United Airlines cheeseburgers aren't quite what I might imagine a cheeseburger should be. 

Even if I was hungry, I'd been told, there are other, safer things on United's food-for-purchase menu. 

Moreover, last year some United Airlines Flight Attendants were appalled at how they'd been instructed to put the cheeseburgers together.

Then the fateful question was asked.

"Would you like any food for purchase?" said the charming Flight Attendant. 

I didn't think for long. I just did it.

"Have you got any of those cheeseburgers, please?"

He simultaneously smiled and nodded. Was it a mischievous smile? 

I assumed that, as on many airlines, the Flight Attendant would go away, slip the burger in the oven and bring it to me a little later.

Please imagine my marginal astonishment when, within a minute, he handed me a brown paper bag with my $9.99 burger inside. And a little box full of Sir Kensington condiments.

I became a touch suspicious. This was quicker than McDonald's.

Still, my hunger (and my curiosity) dictated my actions. 

I ripped the wrapper apart and espied a squashed little thing, resembling a squirrel that had been run over by a brioche pick-up truck.

I took a bite.

It was only slightly warmer than Vladimir Putin's soul.

Its consistency was that of a sandwich you've left in your backpack for a day or two.

I wanted to like it, if only to naysay my naysaying friends who'd said this wasn't a good idea. 

In truth, though, this burger was, like the parrot in the infamous Monty Python sketch, dead.

Please, I've ordered food for purchase on several planes and occasionally found it extremely palatable. The bacon roll on a British Airways flight a couple of years ago was excellent.

With this burger, I managed four or five (small) bites. 

I couldn't eat any more. I just couldn't. 

There must be people who love these burgers. I know this because this is the third incarnation of the United cheeseburger.

Sometimes, perhaps they're served warm, or even hot. 

Perhaps this one had simply been neglected.

For me, on this particular occasion, I chose continued hunger. 

I sat back, relaxed and even fell asleep for a short while. 

I suspect, though, that the Flight Attendant's initial smile had been a touch knowing. 

I suspect he knew that this burger might not be all that.

You see, he never charged me.

Published on: Mar 17, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.