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

For a long time, U.S. Airlines weren't very good about the touchy-feely thing.

They embraced a certain starkness, a certain coldness and mistook it for, what, corporate solidity? Their senior executives' emotional issues?

I remember the first time I got on a U.S. Airways flight and found it little different than a Greyhound bus.

It took airlines like Southwest, JetBlue and Virgin America to reveal the possibilities of elements such as mood lighting and humanity.

Now United Airlines has decided to take some steps toward creating a better atmosphere in its planes and other areas in which customers encounter it. 

And, who knows, among its staff too.

The airline is "updating" its brand design. What this means is that a few more colors -- pleasant, soothing, modern colors -- will now be allowed into United's palette.

Actually, if I asked you to tell me what that palette is you'd likely suggest, um, blue, white and yellow.

Please, then, welcome such exotica as Pacific Blue, Rhapsody Blue, Atlantic Amethyst (a kind of bright purple) and even Premium Purple.

Personally, I'm delighted that purple is enjoying such a blooming.

Virgin America showed its soothing grace with fine purple mood lighting that made you think everything would be fine, even though your flight was delayed by three hours.

"We leveraged our United globe as the inspiration to create new patterns and unexpected prints to differentiate ourselves," claims United.

The airline says it spent 12 months chatting to employees to see what colors they'd like to wear.

I asked United how the final decisions on colors were taken. 

"The new employee uniforms will also include pops of our new colors, which employees have told us they want in the various listening sessions we've conducted," an airline spokeswoman told me.

The core color will be its Rhapsody Blue, which may or may not be rhapsodic after a few wears.

This attempt to make the color scheme more palettable is but a little thing.

It does show, however, that United has begun to realize that there are so many small ways you can make a customer feel better.

Just as there are so many small ways you can make a customer feel terrible.

Published on: Aug 12, 2018