Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
Good news from an airline is like a free drink from a loan shark.
You can't quite trust it.
Lately, indeed, airlines have been able to offer little more than viral examples of customer disservice.
Still, with United Airlines now promising to be marginally less unpleasant, you might think spiritual improvement is in the slipstream.
You might also think that mangoes grow on Christmas trees.
The latest portent of pain came from American Airlines on its 1st Quarter results call.
The purpose of this call was to promise Wall Street that, yes, yes, American will find ways to make even more money.
After all, the greasy-haired money types are unhappy that American dared to give its employees a raise. A fulsome 8 percent.
So what bone could American toss to the vultures before they start to chew on the CEO's carcass?
The words were technical. The agony for passengers will be practical.
American said it saw "narrow-body density opportunities."
For those not versed in corporate euphemism, this translates to: "We're going to shove more seats into our narrow-body planes."
These narrow-body planes are the ones that all airlines use for most travel in the US. American used once to be enlightened and use the slightly wider Boeing 767s on occasion.
You felt that you might get a chance to breathe on one of those. I used to go out of my way to travel with American on cross-country flights, specifically because of those 767s.
With narrow-body planes, however, airlines think they can make more money.
For you, this means less legroom that in a coffin and less elbow room that in a packed elevator.
For the airline, this means -- and again I quote from the call -- "benefits in terms of overall revenue production."
The more seats you have on a plane, the more revenue you can make from each flight and the more Wall Street will pinch your bottom with joy.
Airlines have concluded that nickel-and-diming and narrowing seat space are the two best ways to make money.
Ancient concepts such as customer service and the comfort of the passenger have been dragged off the plane, bloodied like Dr. David Dao.
There's no incentive to behave otherwise when more than 80 percent of all airlines seats in America are held by just four companies.
You will, therefore, simply have to sit there and take it.
And yes, American is the airline that last year emitted an ad campaign telling passengers to behave better on planes.