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

You might not feel all that happy when you're on a plane.

You might not, though be alone.

The Flight Attendants might be offering some version of a smile. Deep inside, though, they might wish they weren't there either.

Indeed, it seems that certain American Airlines Flight Attendants have decided to avoid offering passengers something the passengers have been told to expect.

In an exchange with their CEO Doug Parker -- captured by View From The Wing's Gary Leff -- a Flight Attendant wondered whether American might reconsider its policy toward offering free drinks.

Not only do those up the very front enjoy them, but the airline introduced the concept to Main Cabin Extra passengers earlier this year.

The Flight Attendant asking the question said she wasn't entertained by passengers who, if they don't get served at their seats, waft to the galley, as if it were a bar.

Some seem to be on the wrong side of sober. 

The Flight Attendant said she "has to lie" in order to avoid serving them.

Leff says he's heard that such alternative facting may have extended to telling Main Cabin Extra that only one drink is free and then next has to be paid for.

I asked American for its view and will update, should I hear.

I thought I'd ask one or two American Airlines Flight Attendants whether they're occasionally tempted to resist serving too many drinks or even stretch facts to alternative levels.

Some insisted they only stop serving if they think a passenger has had too many. They'd never, they said, bend the rules. It's a question, they said, of sheer professionalism.

One, though, told me:

If I get the passenger to pay for the second drink, he's going to drink less. I think of it as damage control. And, hey, the airline makes more money. 

Another offered:  

On a single-aisle plane, why would I want to keep going up and down the aisle to help passengers get drunk? It's bad enough maneuvering your way up and down just once. It's a lot worse when someone expects you to be their server.

But isn't customer service supposed to be their job? Another told me: 

What we're being told is that the most important thing is to get the plane out on time. The service is as little as you can get away with.

Parker himself rather confirmed this just the other week, insisting that passengers actually don't care as much about customer service as they do about getting to their destination on time.

I confess to experiencing a tinge of sympathy for the Flight Attendants here.

Too many of the planes flown domestically -- and, increasingly, internationally -- simply aren't conducive to a relaxed style of service.

Or, indeed, anything other than minimal service.

There's one aisle and a lot of people constantly going to the toilet. 

It's all very for well for an airline to promise free drinks. It's another for Flight Attendants to deliver on that. 

It's also harder to get those Flight Attendants to deliver when they don't appear to be all that happy in the first place.

Published on: Dec 1, 2018
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.