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

United Airlines has gone and done it.

Somehow, I thought it would restrain itself.

After all, the airline's trying to be kinder to passengers.

Yet, after JetBlue announced that it was raising baggage fees to $30 for the first bag, United stepped in to join the latest nickel-and-diming ensemble.

As my colleague Bill Murphy Jr. reported, the airline chose the classic bad news PR dump time -- late on Friday -- to announce its intentions.

Put yourself, though, into the comfy shoes of a United Airlines employee going to work over the next few days and weeks. Especially those at check-in desks.

You know you're going to have passengers complaining about the new fee. 

What are you supposed to tell them?

Helpfully, United has already thought of that. It's created a little blurb for employees to utter to unhappy passengers, a blurb that was captured by Skift's Brian Sumers.

It begins:

We just announced new baggage fees on August 31. This is actually the first time in eight years we are making an adjustment to some of our checked baggage fees.

Should you be a passenger, you might stop them there and say: 

Ah, yes. Baggage fees were introduced, according to airlines, in response to very high fuel costs. During this eight-year period, your fuel costs dropped dramatically. Did you, um, adjust your baggage fees downward? No, you did not.

Or you might remain patient and listen to the next part of the United employee's suggested spiel: 

Our hope is to reinvest in a more enjoyable and caring flight experience for you and all of our customers.

At this point, dear passenger, you might be tempted to laugh loudly and sniff: 

Your hope? Your hope? Your hope has some audacity. I suspect your real hope is to make more profits, so that your executives can get obese bonuses.

It really is quite something that United thinks it should come across as a quasi-charity, asking for (compulsory) donations toward reinvestment.

It's remarkable that the airline thinks people will be moved by this logic: We need to charge you more for your bags, so that we can make flying with us slightly less appalling. (Which you know we won't.)

Please imagine being a United Airlines employee and trying to say these things with a straight face.

I have a feeling that many of them won't bother with this script.

They'll simply say: "I'm really sorry. It wasn't my decision. And, by the way, the people who took the decision tried to take our bonuses away last year."

Published on: Sep 2, 2018