Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
As you squeeze down the aisle of your next flight, as you plop yourself into a seat that feels like it was made for an 11-year-old marathon runner, I want you to remember these next words.
It doesn't have to be this way.
Yes, the wise airlines of the world are stuffing more seats onto planes -- I'm sorry, I mean they're densifying planes -- just as they're making those seats smaller.
I will be forever admiring of this phrase from an American Airlines executive: "These seats are designed to make efficient use of the space available and feel more spacious, so a 30-inch pitch will feel more like today's 31 inches."
Of course it will.
Yet there's a plane that's been around for four years, one that's actually more comfortable.
It has wider aisles and wider seats. In fact, the dreaded middle seats are even wider than the ones by the window or the aisle.
It's quieter than perhaps any plane you've ever sat in, too.
There's only one small drawback. Airlines aren't buying it.
Welcome to the Bombardier C Series. These planes are currently being flown by precisely two airlines. Swiss and Air Baltic.
Even these airlines admitted to the Wall Street Journal that C Series planes reflect well on their brand, but don't necessarily attract more passengers.
"Passengers get into anything that flies if the ticket is cheap," said Martin Gauss, chief executive of Air Baltic.
It's a depressing echo of the words emitted by United Airlines president Scott Kirby, who insisted that if customers feel uncomfortable on planes, it's their own fault.
They're just not willing, in his view, to pay for comfort.
The Bombardier C Series planes were created specifically to please those who might usually fly on smaller planes. You know, the ones that feel like Greyhound buses propelled into the sky by a catapult.
Now of course there are all sorts of economic issues that airlines have to look at. Some executives, like Kirby, prefer to invest in slightly bigger planes than the Bombardier because they believe they're better investments in the future. For stuffing more people in, you understand.
Still, it's depressing to think that humans will moan so much about airlines, yet not be prepared to pay even a little more for extra comforts.
Perhaps they don't really believe those comforts will be given to them anymore.
Perhaps they think that airlines prefer to race to the bottom and their dark nickel-and-diming souls will always lead them to gouge, while offering little to nothing.
Personally, I'm always prepared to pay a little bit more for even a touch more legroom and a window to lean against.
And then a large man with a large laptop and 40-inch elbows sits next to me and my investment is for naught.
I thought that we Americans believed that if we build it, they will come.
Yet when it comes to planes, we seem to have lost faith. We've accepted so much ill-treatment that flying is like a visit to the dentist. We just want to get it over with.
Yet the likes of JetBlue and Virgin America have tried to make us feel better while we're on planes.
You'd think that if a large airline really committed to inciting good feelings, they might make a lot of money out of it. Especially as United Airlines admitted that its new Basic Economy, the one with supposedly cheaper fares with every frill taken out, is actually losing it money.
Oh, but which one dares to try?