EDITORIAL: Good news is still up in the air

Is a happy employee more productive than a miserable one? Continental Airlines seems to think so; it is using press ads to proudly flash around the fact that it is - for the third consecutive year - on Fortune's list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For, as well as again winning Air Transport World's Airline of the Year award.

Is a happy employee more productive than a miserable one? Continental Airlines seems to think so; it is using press ads to proudly flash around the fact that it is - for the third consecutive year - on Fortune's list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For, as well as again winning Air Transport World's Airline of the Year award.

Is a happy employee more productive than a miserable one? Continental Airlines seems to think so; it is using press ads to proudly flash around the fact that it is - for the third consecutive year - on Fortune's list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For, as well as again winning Air Transport World's Airline of the Year award.

It's an interesting link, even if you overlook the fact that Continental Airlines ranked only 18th on the Fortune list. We've seen companies displaying their corporate philanthropy or ethical principles as a strategy to improve their reputation. So why not flaunt their motivated and, hence, industrious staff as a way of making customers and the wider public feel warmer towards the Continental Airlines brand?

The strategy is particularly cunning in the airline market. For starters, when you're floating 35,000 feet up in the air you'd hope that the crew is in top form. But more than just that, as we explain in the feature (opposite page), airlines need all the positive feelings they can muster at the moment. Hampered by the logistical problems of overcrowded skies and airport terminals, and bracing themselves for an FAA report into safety, they are scrambling to find positive messages to communicate to customers.

Airlines are addressing the problem head-on with technology to improve the efficiency of how, and what, they communicate about delays to customers.

But, in the best tradition of shifting the agenda to something winnable, Continental is neatly giving travelers something new to think about - while they are waiting around for their plane to arrive.



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