US Airways: Costumes OK … within limits

They're nothing if not festive at US Airways when it comes to Halloween. Alas, there are some lines that employees can't cross when considering costumes, according to a recent employee newsletter.

First, be functional. “The big skirt on that fairy-princess gown might get caught in a belt loader – not a good idea.”

Second, don't offend. “Would I wear this in front of a kindergarten class?”

Also off limits: masks for employees who serve customers and “exposed bellies, bottoms or busts.” Rest assured that the ban also extends to terrorist-related costumes.

Lest you think the higher-ups are down on Halloween, many US Airways executives “will don costumes and shake their collective booty” on a tour of the carrier's Phoenix-area offices. In past years, executives – including CEO Doug Parker – have dressed up as the Beatles, ZZ Top and even Milli Vanilli.

Details on this year's getups weren't available, but one spokesman said the costumes “will have a more political bent this year,” in part because presidential candidate John McCain is from Arizona, home of US Airways. No word on who will play Joe the Plumber.

Now on the menu: A $9 dog

Will the hotdog be the next menu item to follow the hamburger and go gourmet?

In Charlotte, it's already happening. The 131 Main restaurant menu lists a $9 all-beef hotdog with mustard, onions, toasted bun, deviled egg, hand-cut fries and a relish tray.

Principal Joe Douglas, who was eating one for lunch when Insider caught up with him at the Latta Pavilion location, said the owners imported the idea from Florida four years ago.

Management reviews sales to make sure the most popular items stay on the menu, and “the hotdog is right up there,” Douglas said.

Fifth Third on four wheels

This just in from the financial-services-on-wheels file: Fifth Third Bancorp. will be taking its financial-counseling bus around Charlotte to reach out to people who don't want to walk into a bank. Visitors get a free credit report and credit and foreclosure counseling. The full-size commercial bus (you can't miss it – it has a picture of a house and the word “HOME” on the side) will be at Wilson Middle School, 7020 Tuckaseegee Road, from 3 to 6 p.m. today. It will be at the Afro-American Cultural Center on Saturday afternoon and New Beginnings Community Church in Matthews on Sunday morning.

Also be on the lookout for the U.S. Mint's Real Change Exchange. Translation: It's a vehicle that looks like an armored truck, and it has the words “It's Real Change” on the side. (Yeah … you can't miss it, either.) The U.S. Mint, on a mission to get people to actually use $1 coins, is taking the truck to retailers around Charlotte for the next week or so. The truck will be at Lowe's Motor Speedway today, but no word on whether it will take a lap around the track.

Mirror, mirror on the wall …

Fastest Items in Town™! When the N.C. Business Hall of Fame inducts four new members next month, they'll include the head Panther and a real estate titan. Jerry Richardson, 72, is founder and majority owner of the Carolina Panthers. John Crosland Jr., 80, was chief executive of Crosland – the development company founded 71 years ago by his father – for almost 30 years and helped found the Charlotte chapter of Habitat for Humanity. The other honorees are Bob Ingram, vice chairman of pharmaceuticals at GlaxoSmithKline of Research Triangle Park, and Eddie Smith, owner and chief executive of Grady-White Boats of Greenville, N.C. Induction ceremony is Nov. 12 at the Westin. … The Hampton Inn & Suites at Phillips Place has just concluded a $3.5 million floor-to-ceiling renovation of its 124 rooms with new carpet, wall coverings and furniture. Surely, guests appreciate it, but the halogen lighted bathroom mirror with the embedded TV is what has them talking, says general manager Marcel Hebert. The hotel purchased the mirrors from Electric Mirror of Edmonds, Wash., for about $2,300 apiece, he said. Staff reports