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Archive for Sunday, June 23, 2002

Briefcase

June 23, 2002

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Southwest Airlines narrows focus on wide passengers

Southwest Airlines is telling plump passengers to take a seat or two.

Travelers who can't fit within the 18-inch-wide space between seat armrests on Southwest planes will now be required to buy a pair of tickets, the Dallas-based carrier recently announced.

The company said its "people of size" policy had been in effect since 1980, but that it would start strictly enforcing the rule Wednesday.

Complaints from some passengers that they had been "sat on" and "smothered" by large passengers is prompting the change, Southwest said.

"We are training our employees so that they can recognize which passengers will need two seats," said Southwest spokeswoman Angela Varago, noting that the low-price, no-frills airline does not offer oversized first-class seats available on most other carriers. "We will do this discreetly."

The policy, which is similar to some other airlines' girth guidelines, could create a whopping travel bill for some large-sized passengers. Two round-trip tickets on Southwest from San Diego to San Jose, for instance, cost about $370.

Survey: Workers say image matters

A survey finds many American workers have sought jobs at their companies because of the positive image the businesses project.

In the poll of 1,002 Americans, Maritz Research found 49 percent said their companies' brand-names and image were major factors in working for those businesses and not for competitors.

And more than half, or 53 percent, said they felt strongly enough about what their companies make or do to recommend the firms to friends, family members and even colleagues at other companies.

Moreover, Maritz found "brand pride" was strongly associated with better job satisfaction.

"These findings show that brand image plays a key role in attracting and retaining employees," said Rick Garlick of St. Louis-based Maritz.

Economy: CEOs say job creation key to recovery by year's end

American CEOs are confident the nation's economy will keep recovering, but in a survey of 1,450 executives of small-to mid-sized American companies by Tec International, they predict a full rebound won't happen until the end of 2002.

Seventy-six percent of the CEOs polled said they expect the economy to recover by the end of the year. The retail sector is expected to recover the fastest, while telecommunications will take the longest amount of time.

The survey is conducted quarterly by TEC International, an organization of CEOs of small to mid-sized firms.

Fifty-one percent of the CEOs cited job creation as the most important business strategy to begin during the next six months.

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