Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
Airlines give and airlines take away.
Actually, that's not quite right. Airlines are more in the spirit of taking than giving these days.
Or, if they do give, there's always a price to pay.
It is, then, with a heavy soul that I have to tell you about the latest thing you won't be seeing on planes. United Airlines planes, that is.
As Skift's Brian Sumers tweeted, United had just announced what it calls "periodical cuts."
No, these aren't the sorts of cuts that periodically appear almost without notice and annoy the living breath out of you.
Well, they are. But there's another meaning to all this.
Here are United's words: "Starting Jan 1, 2017 newspapers and magazines will no longer be boarded on United flights."
You will, of course, merely mutter that it's a sign of the times. Paper is being left barking up the Amazon, while everyone stares into screens and gleans nothing at all, save for what they already believe and know.
Imagine, though, that United's announcement didn't have even that much nuance.
Instead: "Product marketing advised that customers are not requesting the publications, so it is reallocating the budget to other onboard amenities."
Is this entirely true? It might be on domestic flights, but when I'm on an international flight there's an enormous pleasure in picking up a paper from the destination country in order to see who's been sleeping with whom, stabbing whom and ousting whom over there.
Moreover, what other onboard amenities will get extra budget? We need to know.
Could it be that something might actually improve? If so, what? It would be marvelous to get excited about something new.
Yes, United would surely like me to be excited about its new Polaris Business Class.
But might it now be able to afford silken napkins? Might it offer a little gold chandelier above your seat? Might it now do away with its Sub-Cattle Class as a gesture to civility?
I contacted United to ask and will update should it get back to me, but I fear not.
I fear this may represent another little bottom-line saving that someone lower down will use to impress someone higher up come budget time.
In any case, soon we'll all be too busy to read anything on planes. We'll be making phone calls instead.