As I’ve said before, the airline industry isn’t all that profitable. So it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to learn that some of the major airlines are trying to “optimize” their operations to eek out as much profit as possible. And who better to model yourself after than the ethical folks at Big Chicken, right?

Over the last decade or so, I’ve noticed a trend away from flying as a luxury and towards flying as a form of sadistic punishment.

To dissuade travel agents from filling up their shiny new planes with disgusting commoners, major airlines are apparently modeling their treatment of coach passengers after the factory farm industry.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that American Airlines, AirCanada, AirFrance and Emirates Airlines have all opted to install one more row of seats in their coach cabins than the number recommended by the plane’s manufacturer, essentially slashing shoulder space by wedging an extra seat into each coach row.

In fact, an overwhelming majority of airlines taking possession of Boeing’s new 787 Dreamliner and Airbus’ A330 jetliners have opted to shoehorn in the torturous extra row.

It’s just another way airlines are encouraging disparity between the elbow-room haves and have-nots.

Emirates Airline’s CEO (and full-on crazy person), Tim Clark, feels the solution is to offer distractions like “big meals, frequent snacks and lots of electronic entertainment.” He also suggested that instead of providing food to hungry passengers, flight attendants could just jangle their car keys in front of them.

Based on these shrewd business moves, you can expect further changes in the industry. While Business Class and First Class passengers will still be treated like human beings with rights and dignity, Coach Class passengers should probably expect airline personnel to repeatedly spit on them until the day airlines can finally just pack Coach passengers away down in the cargo hold with the other animals.