Posted: Friday, November 15, 2002

GROUND RAGE: You've heard the air rage horror stories. Now British Airways is trying to tackle the issue of ground rage, the phenomenon of bellicose passengers in the airport.

Taking a cue from the yellow cards given to soccer players, the U.K.'s biggest carrier expanded its ''yellow card'' program from the air to the airport on Oct. 30, giving unruly passengers a warning to simmer down before they board.

The ''cards'' are actually a short letter, telling the offending passenger he or she might be denied boarding or that police will be summoned.

''Please now calm down and act in a sensible manner so that our staff can deal with your problem,'' the warning reads. ''We have given you this notice to make sure that you understand clearly: the gravity of your current situation; and the possible consequences; and the need to moderate your conduct immediately.''

The airline said ''ground rage'' incidents appear to be on the rise, with company spokesman John Lampl opining that increased security measures since Sept. 11 have left many travelers in foul humor. The card system is a preventive measure designed to keep violent and other aggressive passengers from airplanes, he said.

SO LONG, EVIL STAIRMASTER: When it's time to tighten our financial belts, the gym membership tends to go bye-bye first.

The Century 21 real estate franchiser wondered what people might do without if they're saving for a home purchase. In a survey of 1,000 adults, nearly 70 percent said the gym was expendable, followed by new cars (63 percent), vacations (59 percent) and new clothes (57 percent).

Less than half of those surveyed, 40 percent, said they would do without holiday gifts. Five percent said they couldn't part with anything on that list.

The survey was conducted by KRC Research last month.

9-TO-5? HOW QUAINT: We come in early, we stay late and the average commute to work has become a bear, now topping 42 minutes. That's the workplace we all know and endure, right?

Pretty much.

A survey last month of 1,385 employees found that the mean work day is now 9 hours, 8 minutes, for a weekly total of 46 hours, 16 minutes. The mean response for the number of sick days allowed each year was 6.5, although most people said they used less than three.

Vacation time is about 15 days, with two personal days per year the most common answer.

When asked what a good work day would be, the mean answer was 8:51 a.m. to 5 p.m. That almost never happens, though, with 49 percent saying they stay late every day and more than 80 percent staying late a few days per week.

The survey was conducted by the Sidney, N.Y.-based Consumer & Office Products Group of MeadWestvaco Corp.

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