Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
Over the last few years, airlines have been going one way.
When it comes to passenger pleasures, that is.
They have shoved more seats inside planes, taken away more amenities and ensured that planes about as wide as a ping-pong table fly further and further.
I recently tried the newest narrowbody airline escapade -- United's painful Boeing 737 MAX -- and it was about as enjoyable as soot pie.
This doesn't mean that United is entirely without heart.
Or, at least, entirely without the knowledge that people occasionally like something better than the norm.
That's why I was unreasonably moved to hear that the airline is doing something positive on transcontinental flights.
Well, at least a couple of them.
The airline has begun introducing its Boeing 787-10 plane on flights between LAX and Newark and, from February, San Francisco and Newark.
This is a peculiar dip into decency.
I used to fly very regularly cross-country. As United sank to using narrowbody Boeing 757s, I'd go out of my way to fly American, as the airline still used the wider-bodied 767s.
Of course, American has drifted with the prevailing tides and jettisoned the widebody approach.
(Though I was stunned just before Christmas to discover a 767 flying between San Francisco and Fort Lauderdale. This gave me one of the finest experiences on American that I can remember.)
Back, though, to United. Please imagine that it's flying these extremely long, entirely new and occasionally comfortable planes on domestic routes.
If your imagination can take it, see if it can cope with the fact that this isn't a temporary move, designed to accustom its staff to the plane on shorter routes before going exclusively international.
Astonishingly, there's more.
These 787-10s enjoy Premium Plus. This is something that many international flyers know as Premium Economy. It's a wider seat, more legroom and generally a slightly classier service for far less than Business Class.
European airlines have been offering it for, oh, 25 years and now U.S. airlines are catching up.
This all seems like oddly good news. I confess that, for my next trip to the uglier coast, I'll actively seek out this United plane, simply to enjoy the widebody air.
It's almost as if an airline has discovered civilization all over again. Although, you know, Economy Class will still be a horrible squeeze. Especially if you're in row 60.
Yes, these planes are long. And yes, United wants to make a lot of money out of them.