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

Many airlines believe that the best way of making money is to save money.

Sometimes, saving money means taking things away from passengers and hoping that they won't miss them.

Or, if they do, that they'll now be prepared to pay for them.

American Airlines is often said to be the leader in such tactics. But it's not alone.

United Airlines also has a fondness in this area. 

This is, I'm sure, entirely unrelated to the fact that its president, Scott Kirby, is the former president of American.

United's latest apparent nickel-and-diming is curious.

It's begun to reduce the meals offered to its more valued passengers.

Yes, the ones who sit up front and quietly thank their corporations or their inheritances that they don't have to sit anywhere near the back.

Frequent business flyers have taken to Twitter to bemoan what they say is a diminution in the fancy rations they're offered, while the people in the back quietly groan and starve.

It seems that United has decided to only serve full meals to these exalted beings on flights departing between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.

The exalted beings seem aghast. 

Moreover, these full meals will now only be served on flights lasting four hours or more, instead of three hours.

Renowned travel blogger Gary Leff said: "This looks like a major cut to me."

So I asked United for its thoughts on this apparent drive to help business travelers lose a little body mass and be a little more at one with the proletariat.

An airline spokesperson told me: "We are offering customers a more simplified meal service on flights under four hours. With all of our food offerings, we monitor customer feedback and what they would prefer and adjust accordingly."

It's interesting that United says it's making these changes on the basis of flyers' feedback.

Perhaps next time the unhappy premium passengers are on a flight, they should turn to the passenger seated next to them and say: "Oy, were you in favor of this diminished sustenance?"

I suspect one or two Economy Class passengers -- those who are perhaps building up their businesses and exercising a little cost-cutting of their own -- might chuckle at these First Classers huffing and puffing.

But perhaps they should consider one thought.

If United is prepared to do this to its premium passengers, what might it be prepared to do to those who sit far behind them?

Published on: May 6, 2018
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