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

Almost as riveting as airlines' sleight of hand is their sleight of mouth.

They'll tell you that any changes they make are always for the good of the passenger.

You discover, miracle of miracles, that these changes are even better for the airline's bottom line and not really all that good for you at all.

And so it is with the latest of great new ideas emerging from airline lips.

Standing-only flights.

Seated in 9F, madam? Stand by the window.

26D, sir? Oh, you're standing right next to the toilet.

You'll adore the rationale offered by budget airline VivaColombia's founder and CEO William Shaw to the Miami Herald: "We're very interested in anything that makes travel less expensive."

It wouldn't take George Bernard Shaw to translate his words to: "We're very interested in packing as many people as possible onto planes, because we'll make more money that way."

The concept of standing-only flights apparently involves -- at least in some people's eyes -- chairs that look a little like barstools.

The reality, I suspect, should some government authority one day give approval to such a beautiful idea, is that it would be not so different from a subway in the sky.

And who wouldn't love that?

Imagine the multiplication of odors that would make the cabin smell like a summer subway car in New York.

Imagine the divisive atmosphere, as you walk past First Class -- where they're all standing in little private shower-cubicles -- while you know that there's be no divide between you and the next coach stander.

Imagine the delight of an airline squeezing in just 10, no, 20 more passengers before the doors close.

And think of the utterly diminished likelihood that you'd ever be bumped.

Well, except during turbulence, when passengers would smack into each other with inebriating abandon.

But remember, it'll be cheaper.

Also remember, you'll loathe every last second of it.

Still, Shaw insists that many Colombians would be liberated by an exceptionally cheap experience.

He told the Miami Herald: "Who cares if you don't have an in-flight entertainment system for a one hour flight? Who cares that there aren't marble floors. Or that you don't get free peanuts?"

Marble floors? Which airline does he fly? Monarchist Airways?

The overarching truth, though, is that the squeeze is on.

Airlines will do anything to get more seats into a plane -- even if American Airlines claims it heard passengers bemoaning its plan to reduce the legroom in coach to budget-size.

Every time airlines try some nickel-and-diming, profit-gouging tactic, their one hope is: "Oh, they'll get used to it."

But Shaw isn't the first to lick his lips at standing-room only flights.

Ryanair's impish CEO Michael O'Leary dreamed of it in 2012.

Published on: Jul 1, 2017