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

This is strange.

I'm so used to airlines doing everything they can to squeeze more seats onto planes that I'm feeling a touch light-headed.

You see, FlightGlobal just revealed that United Airlines is actually going to have fewer seats on some of its planes.

I did, indeed, say fewer.

You see, the airline is introducing its new Premium Economy offering this year. 

Please don't confuse this with Economy Plus. That's just a dull old Economy Class seat with a little more legroom.

United's Premium Economy is called Premium Plus and it's more like Virgin Atlantic's version, with wider seats, more legroom, better food, and no child left behind to kick the back of your seat.

Well, the child would have to have unnaturally long legs, or a truly mean demeanor.

When this class was first announced, I naturally assumed that United would remove some Business Class seats to accommodate its new thing.

However, the seat maps for the Boeing 767-300ER, 777-200, and 777-300ER show that there will actually be fewer Economy Class seats.

In some cases, the numbers are quite shocking.

For example, the 767-300ER will have 167 seats, instead of the current 214.

This is to accommodate not only 22 new Premium Economy seats, but also 44 Polaris (fancier, to you) Business Class seats, instead of 30.

The 777s will have 16 fewer seats.

I contacted United to ask what had spurred this flight of fanciness. A United spokeswoman said the airline hasn't officially disclosed its Premium Plus plans.

I will hazard a guess, though, that some hairy-nosed actuary and part-time algorithm writer has made a calculation that the airline can sell more of the nicer seats at higher prices.

Ergo, the revenue per plane will creep up.

Of course, this isn't a benefit to everyone.

But as someone who, on some airlines, actively prefers a well-done Premium Economy to Business Class, I find this deeply uplifting.

Please imagine, not only will there be fewer people on the plane, but perhaps fewer checking in and fewer lining up for the gate agent to seek some slight preferential treatment. 

And you might, just might, like this Premium Plus experience. 

When it comes to airlines, hope may not be the wisest approach, but let's just try it for now.

Published on: Apr 16, 2018