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Consumer Confidential: Good (and bad) airlines, plane dealers, more work

April 12, 2010 | 12:06 pm

Here's your hey-where's-he-been-for-the-past-couple-of-weeks, post-vacation roundup of consumer news from around the Web:

--Hawaiian Airlines flew the highest last year when it came to providing passengers quality service, according to the latest stats from the U.S. Department of Transportation. At the bottom of the list were regional carriers American Eagle, Atlantic Southeast and Comair -- the latter two owned by Delta, which placed a none-too-impressive fourth from last. The survey ranked four categories: on-time performance, mishandled baggage, denied boardings due to overbookings and consumer complaints. I'll have more on the many joys of airline travel in my Tuesday column.

--Speaking of our friends in the airline industry, Wall Street is taking a shine to speculation that Continental Airlines might make a play for United Airlines. United, for its part, is said to be in merger talks with U.S. Airways. A Wall Street analyst gave an upbeat appraisal of a Continental-United marriage, bumping Continental's stock higher. My thinking is that less competition in the airline industry can only be good for passengers. Not.

--If it seems like you've been working harder lately, guess what -- you have. A new study from MetLife Inc. confirms what most of us have known for quite some time: higher productivity in the workplace translates to people doing more for the same amount of pay (or possibly less). The study finds that employers have been keeping salaries and benefits largely in check, while at the same time whipping workers into picking up steam. MetLife finds that 40% of workers say their load has increased over the last year. And employers pretty much agree, with 36% saying productivity is up as they prod workers to run ever faster on their treadmills.

-- David Lazarus