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

A trend that's been evident in recent years is cabin crew behaving like special agents, not customer service agents.

Somehow, airlines have pressed their staff into policing -- as planes have become smaller, seats have become tighter and nerves have become more frayed.

The latest incident involves -- yet again, sadly -- United Airlines.

Joel Amador-Batten described what happened on the DADsquared Facebook page -- a community for gay fathers and families: "Tonight my husband was detained after disembarking a United flight to RDU [Raleigh-Durham airport] because a member of the flight crew made an accusation that my husband's hand/arm laying across my sleeping son's lap was too close to the 'child's genitals.'"

Henry Amador-Batten was on his way back from Puerto Rico where, says his husband, he was "dealing with his father's quick decline and subsequent death."

Joel Amador-Batten accuses the United flight attendant of "just not liking the look" of his husband.

"After being made to feel like a criminal in front of other passengers as they exited the plane," he said, "my husband filed a report of his own mentioning that the male flight attendant that must have accused him had treated him oddly in flight, and was promptly sent on his way."

How could it have come to this?

"There was exploration in the part of the flight crew as to who my son and husband were to one another," said Joel Amador-Batten. "There was an assumption and then an accusation."

I contacted United for its view and will update, should I hear. The airline did offer this statement to the Durham Herald-Sun: "Our customers should always be treated with the utmost respect. We have followed up with the customer directly and we apologized for the situation."

Naturally, though, the Amador-Battens have consulted a lawyer, Kenneth Padowitz.

He told the Herald-Sun: "Based on the horrible situation that they placed him in front of their son and other people on the plane, we are going to vigorously pursue to be compensated by the airline for this horrible embarrassing treatment."

Padowitz said there was "zero evidence" for the accusations. He added: "To have your young child see you be stopped by the police and be questioned like you have done something wrong based on nothing would cause any traveler to be mortified."

This isn't the first time this week that gay fathers have complained about the treatment they've received from airlines.

Two Florida dads say they were denied family boarding by Southwest Airlines because they were told by a female gate agent that they weren't a proper family.

Airline staff don't have it easy. They're pressured by the sometimes unreasonable demands of their employers, just as they're pressured by the sometimes unreasonable demands of passengers.

Flight attendants have used their skills of observation to save kids. For example, the Alaska Airlines flight attendant who noticed a distressed teen on a flight. The teen, it transpired was a victim of human trafficking.

They do, though, sometimes seem to stray into areas that just aren't their business.

That can only lead to more strife. And there's enough on planes as it is.

Published on: May 24, 2017
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.