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

You never know with airlines, do you?

One minute you think they love you. The next, you're wondering whether they even know you exist.

Which brings me, not for the first time, to United Airlines.

For the last year, the airline has been working hard to improve its image. 

It's focused on being nice. Occasionally, passengers have even noticed.

You'll be stunned into only walking for the rest of your life, however, when I tell you that, behind the scenes, the airline has been working on ways to make more money.

This week, United announced that it's adding 50 percent more fancy seats -- an extra 1,600 of them -- to its international, domestic and even its regional planes.

Yes, those little planes that fly between supposedly less significant cities, will be, in United's words, "revolutionized."

I fear you may be quite good at math. So when I tell you that the airlines new Bombardier CRJ regional planes will have a mere 50 seats, you'll realize that 20 fewer than the current Bombardiers.

And when I tell you that the newly-configured Bombardier CRJ 550 planes will have 10 luscious First Class seats and 20 Economy Plus seats, you'll realize, should you fly Economy, that there won't be many seats for you.

They won't be very comfortable, either.

Let's pause for the words of Andrew Nocella, United's executive vice president and chief commercial officer: 

We are committed to making United the airline that our customers choose to fly.

May I offer you a more vivid translation: 

We've worked out we can make more money from the fancier passengers than from you oiks in the back. Sorry.

United isn't showing Economy Class passengers much affection. Recently, I flew on its newest Boeing 737 MAX plane in Economy. It wasn't a delight.

Please, therefore, be prepared for four more First Class seats in the Airbus 319 and 320.

On United's Boeing 767-300ER, marvel at the additional 16 Business Class seats and the 22 new Premium Economy seats.

United's actuarial types have spoken. You're not worth it, Economy Class people.

But if you've got a little more money, please come on in. 

Of course, that doesn't mean Economy Class fares will be cheaper. If there are fewer of them, it's possible that even those fares might rise.

Then again, as pilots have said since time immemorial, you have a choice when you fly. 

Just as United has a choice in deciding how comfortable your experience will be.

Published on: Feb 9, 2019