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

If there's one rule of flying these days it's this: "Never assume."

Airlines are experimenting with giving and with taking away.

Mostly, it seems, with taking away.

How much can they get away with? How much will passengers notice? And how much of what was previously given will passengers now pay for?

The latest fascinating development comes from Delta Air Lines.

With its left hand, it's giving planes with lie-flat beds to certain cross-country domestic routes. For example, JFK to San Diego. (Oddly, many of these routes seem to be blessed with JetBlue flights.)

With its right hand, however, it's taking some domestically-configured planes and donating them to certain transatlantic routes.

So, as the Points, Miles and Martinis blog explains, this means the removal of, well, Business Class. 

Routes involved include JFK to Shannon, Ireland, JFK to Reykjavik and JFK to Ponta Delgada in the Azores.

What, you might wonder, will replace Business Class? Well, the front part of the plane will now merely be Premium Economy. Or what Delta calls Premium Select. 

The seats won't lie flat. And there may be a general air of fin-de-siècle. 

It's curious twist. 

Especially, as the blog One Mile At A Time observed, given that the pricing "sure looks similar to what they previously charged for Business Class."


I contacted Delta to wonder what its logic might be, and will update should I receive a reply.

It does seem, though, like another attempt by airlines to see what comforts they can remove and what effect this may -- or may not -- have.

Please imagine, though, if this trend was expanded.

Think of all those business types and, you know, wealthy people who might feel insulted. 

They won't be able to lie flat and relax, knowing that everyone at the back is sitting upright and praying for the flight to end.

In any case, why would you want to fly on a Delta Boeing 757-200 to Europe (a narrow-bodied old thing), if you can fly, say, a 787 Dreamliner, an Airbus A380 or even a Boeing 767 with another airline?

For me, comfort is always increased when a plane is bigger and wider, rather than the long, thin tubes that so many U.S. airlines seem to prefer.

Delta isn't the first to start eliminating certain classes. Recently, Emirates announced that it will do without, gasp, First Class on certain flights between London to Dubai.

Some, though, might be moved that Delta will now be narrowing the gap between rich and poor a little.

Perhaps it will create greater harmony between humans. 

It might not always be comfortable, but it could be comforting.