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In a Surprising Move, American Airlines Might Change Something That's Really Annoying Passengers (and its Own Employees)

Inc. logo Inc. 7/8/2018 Chris Matyszczyk

© Getty Images Becoming a little less basic?

Sometimes, your best ideas really aren't your best ideas.

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

Most airline executives think they're quite clever.

When they introduce something new, they generally feel confident that passengers will put up with it and that it will make their airline more money.

Such was the case with Basic Economy Class.

a large passenger jet sitting on top of a runway: Domestic airlines transported 823 million passengers in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Most travelers who pass through the nation’s airports harbor certain ideas about them and flying — some of which are true, and some are false.For example, the belief that air travel can be dehydrating — that’s true. Humidity levels in the cabin are usually less than 20 percent, whereas in the home they’re often higher than 30 percent, according to the World Health Organization. But another popular belief — that airlines will cancel a flight if there are only one or two passengers — isn’t true. Click through to uncover the biggest airport rumors you shouldn’t believe. Biggest Airport Myths You Shouldn’t Believe

It's really just a pricing strategy, designed to make this class so abhorrent that passengers will want to pay more to avoid it.

Still, many airlines -- but not all -- claim it's a success. Recently, American Airlines president Robert Isom declared that his airline will expand Basic Economy to more routes.

How odd, then, that rumors suggest American may be rethinking the product a little.

Jamie Larounis at the Forward Cabin reports that the airline will soon relax the Basic Economy carry-on rules.

He says that Basic Economy passengers will be allowed to bring with them a normal-size carry-on.

Which would seem one tiny step closer to civilization.

I asked American for its view, only to be told: "We don't comment on rumors and speculation."

Which the life-addled might take as not a no.

Why, though, might American have taken this step? One reason is surely because some Basic Economy passengers ignore the rules.

Last October, for example, an American Airlines Basic Economy passenger said he fell into a spirited debate with a gate agent about the size of his carry-on. This led him, he bemoaned, to missing his flight, as he wasn't keen on paying a $50 baggage fee.

Moreover, I understand that some American Airlines employees are maddened by the need to police the carry-on restrictions.

They have to check which passengers have the cheapest tickets and then scrutinize their carry-ons for inflation.

They're already under constant pressure to ensure that planes push back on time. Airlines do adore padding their statistics, even though they've already padded flight times to levels approaching the absurd.

Do airline employees really want to be Bag Police, as well as all the other duties they have to perform, sometimes in very cramped environments? Not really.

This may, though, leave some passengers wondering whether there's much difference between Basic Economy and regular old, slightly more human Economy Class.

With the latter, you can buy a seat at the time you book. With the former, you have to wait until 48 hours before you fly to scan the leftovers -- if the seat map really does show you all the genuinely available seats.

Airlines are constantly trying to push the boundaries of what used to be acceptable in order to garner greater profits.

It will be moving to see whether, at some point in the next year, airlines conclude that Basic Economy isn't making them as much money as they'd hoped, perhaps because confusion about the rules is delaying departures -- which can have a knock-on effect.

Some airlines might even decide that Basic Economy wasn't really worth it after all.

Passengers and airline employees might even help them make that decision.

WATCH: The 6 Worst Airline Customer Service Blunders [Inc.]

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