Home Airlines You’ll Never Guess What Airline Is On Fortune’s “Most Admired Companies” List

You’ll Never Guess What Airline Is On Fortune’s “Most Admired Companies” List

by SharonKurheg

Fortune Magazine has been producing the Fortune 500, a well-respected ranking of the largest companies, based on revenue and the general public’s perception for decades. However, there’s another annual list that Fortune has produced every year since 1997 – the World’s Most Admired Companies.

Instead of being based on how much money they make, the companies that make the cut for this list are based on a corporate reputation score judged by a large panel of professional peers who generate insight into how well each company is managing itself.

The network that weighs in on the Most Admired list is made up of nearly 3,800 business insiders, generally board directors, top executives, and financial analysts, who not only watch these high-revenue companies on a daily basis but have an active interest in their respective markets (read: so they know what they’re talking about LOL).

A global management consulting firm, Korn Ferry, collaborates with Fortune to provide the research needed to create the World’s Most Admired Companies list.

The top 3 spots for 2021 are held by companies that are well known, oftentimes respected giants: Apple, Amazon and Microsoft (fun fact! Apple has gotten the #1 distinction for 14 years in a row). The Top 10 is rounded out with, in order, Walt Disney, Starbucks, Berkshire Hathaway, Alphabet (they own Google), JPMorgan Chase, Netflix and Costco Wholesale.

The rest of the list includes companies representing other categories such as consumer products, financials, media & entertainment, natural resources, pharmaceuticals, medicine, and stores & distributors, among others.

However, the sectors that interested me the most were, of course, transportation and travel. Here are a few other companies in those categories that might interest you (if not downright make you raise your eyebrows):

14. Southwest Airlines
23. Delta Airlines
25. Marriott International (being #bonvoyed notwithstanding)
34. Singapore Airlines

Note: After the Top 50, they list the rest of the 300-odd companies alphabetically, rather than ranking order. However those companies include:

  • Air France-KLM Group
  • Airbus Group
  • ANA Holdings
  • Cathay Pacific Airways
  • Hilton Worldwide Holdings
  • Hyatt Hotels
  • Lufthansa Group
  • MGM Resorts International
  • Spirit Airlines

Do you see that last one? Yeah, I was more than a little surprised, too.

For those of you who haven’t been reading our blog for a long time, you may not know that Spirit Airlines is, well, not my first choice of airlines. The whole “nickel and dime you for everything” model just isn’t for me. And for YEARS the airline didn’t have the greatest reputation (to the point where even the flight attendants joked about it).

However, things have turned around for Spirit. They partnered with Disney to improve their customer service a few years ago. They haven’t been #1 on 24/7’s Most Hated Travel Companies In America since 2017 (and weren’t on the list AT ALL in 2020). They started improving the seats on their planes in 2019. They’ve even sometimes been ranked as #1 for being on time (and therefore beating out the “big guys”).

So I guess making Fortune’s list (here’s the full list, by the way) isn’t so surprising?

I’ll tell you one thing, though – this, and the other “tips of the hat” that Spirit has gotten in the past few years, is apparently a HUGE deal to Spirit President and CEO Ted Christie. It must be because one of our readers forwarded us this email that Christie apparently sent to his employees a few days ago:

Spirit Family,

Several years ago, we made it our collective mission to deliver the best value in the sky. As part of that mission, we promised to invest in our Guests and improve the overall experience while staying true to our low-cost business model which provides the ultra-low fares for which we are known.

We have accomplished so much as part of our commitment to Invest in the Guest over the past few years. Our Team Members have brought Spirit Signature Service (S3) to life and have truly elevated our service delivery. To provide more comfort on their journey, we redesigned our cabins with new seats and more useable [sic] legroom. We launched industry-leading technology, including self-bag tag and self-bag drop to streamline the check-in process, provide a low-touch experience and launched an entirely new mobile app that’s earned a 4.8-star rating! We have been laser focused on improving our overall performance, earning us the number one rank in Completion Factor with 97.9% and the number three rank in on-time performance with 86.7% this past year.

Though 2020 was a year like no other, we remained innovators and overcame unforeseeable challenges by continuing to invest in our Guests! All of these improvements have increased Guest satisfaction tremendously, but our Guests are not the only ones noticing.

Last week, the Wall Street Journal’s 2020 Middle Seat Scorecard was published. They look at key operational areas including, on-time arrivals, cancelled flights, delays, mishandled bags and complaint rates. This year, we moved up one spot to 4th. Our continued evolution is a testament to the incredible work ethic we have at Spirit, and I appreciate all you do to make our airline one of the best in the industry.

This week, I’m proud to announce that our airline was named to FORTUNE’s 2021 list of World’s Most Admired® Companies. We’re not just the only ULCC included – we’re also one of only three U.S. airlines, and only eight airlines in the world included in the list. This is an incredible achievement and honor for our airline, and it wouldn’t be possible without each and every one of you.

Together, we’ll continue to focus on innovative ways to deliver an even better Guest experience and get recognized for the terrific service we provide. I’m grateful to work alongside such talented and dedicated individuals. Your devotion to each other, our airline and our Guests is not only appreciated but greatly valued. Thanks for all you do!


Well, GOOD for them!

I’ll fully admit that Spirit’s model of charging separately for everything is still not my cup of tea. Unless I’ve challenged myself to see how little I can pay for a flight (like when I surprised Joe by showing up when he was on a business trip in Charlotte – planning THAT was one of my prouder moments! You can read about it here), I’m at a point in my life where I just don’t want to worry about that and am willing to pay a little more to have it all included. As the good blog says, Your Mileage May Vary.

But I’m glad to hear that, overall, they’re doing better and keeping more people happy when they fly.

I guess I’ll have to limit my “giving grief to an airline” to exclusively Ryanair. 😉

*** Many thanks to our reader who helped us with this post

Feature Photo: Fortune

Want to comment on this post? Great! Read this first to help ensure it gets approved.

Like this post? Please share it! We have plenty more just like it and would love it if you decided to hang around and get emailed notifications of when we post. Or maybe you’d like to join our Facebook group – we have 17,000+ members and we talk and ask questions about travel (including Disney parks), creative ways to earn frequent flyer miles and hotel points, how to save money on or for your trips, get access to travel articles you may not see otherwise, etc. Whether you’ve read our posts before or this is the first time you’re stopping by, we’re really glad you’re here and hope you come back to visit again!

This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

1 comment

Christian February 9, 2021 - 7:04 pm

The “judged by a large panel of professional peers” part means that companies are judging each other and the public’s view is completely ignored. That makes the results dubious, to say the least.


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: