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

One of the more pulsating thoughts of last year came from United Airlines president Scott Kirby.

Instead, it was his view on how United should charge passengers.

He explained, quite lyrically, that being a passenger on a plane is just like going to a concert.

If families actually want to sit together, they should pay more for the privilege

And if you want better seats, you should pay even more for them. Even if the seat is one row further forward and there's no actual show at the front of a plane.

I find myself menancingly unsurprised, therefore, at United's latest foray into charging passengers. With anger, that is. Especially frequent flyers.

There are those who enjoy piling up their United MileagePlus points in order to, one day, secure free flights. Perhaps for a vacation.

They might wish United would now rename its frequent flyer program MileageMinus.

You see, United sent me an email today. It had a pleasantly matter-of-fact tone. It was headlined: 

We're making some updates to award travel.

Updates.

In essence, United is changing the rules of MileagePlus: 

We'll no longer publish an award chart listing the set amount of miles needed for each flight. 

Now, if you want to buy seats using miles, they'll be subject to surge pricing. 

There won't be a set number of miles charged for any route. Instead, the miles required will be calculated on how valuable the seat is to the airline at that particular moment.

Yes, just like concert tickets.

Now, passengers won't be able to make simple calculations, knowing exactly how many miles they might need to buy tickets in the future for a particular route. 

Instead, they'll have to pray.

United's new scheme comes into being on November 15, so you have plenty of time to start piling up points on American Airlines.

Please, that's not an ad.

It's merely my louche way of mentioning that American will now be the only major U.S. airline that still sticks to the old frequent flyer ways.

One can understand that United's frequent flyers will be appalled. They tend to have very touchy demeanors at the best of times.

Still, there are possible bright sides. Think of how few miles you might have to give up for certain flights -- Thanksgiving afternoon, for example.

Or, as United puts it: 

Air awards to U.S. and Canadian destinations that are 10,000 to 12,500 miles today may be available for less moving forward.

Or they may not.

United is also eliminating its close-in booking fees for miles purchases -- the $75 extra you currently have to pay for booking award flights within 21 days of departure.

And look, you've always wanted United to be more like Delta, so here you are. Delta's being doing this dynamic pricing thing for some time.

I sense, though, that there will be kvetching.

Especially because of the slightly humorous timing.

Last week, you see, United's MileagePlus program was named FlyerTalk's Best Airline Reward Program in the Americas.

Ah. Oh.

Published on: Apr 6, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.