This is the happiest airline in America

Researchers analyzed job reviews from employees to see who is the most content. After 3 years on top, Southwest fell to No. 4 this year.

By Forbes Digital Nov 21, 2013 12:26PM
American Airlines new look (PRNewsFoto/American Airlines)By Jacquelyn Smith, Forbes Staff

The holiday season should be a joyous time filled with family, friends and festivities -- but unpleasant airline employees can make getting to your holiday fun a misery.

This year, as you book your getaway, you might want to consider which airline employees will be smiling from check-in to landing, making your trip at least a little bit more enjoyable.

The jobs site just announced its annual ranking of America's happiest airlines for holiday travel. With Thanksgiving fast approaching and travelers preparing to jet off to their next destinations, this list of the five domestic airlines with the most blissful employees may come in handy.

CareerBliss analyzed more than 1,000 job reviews written by airline employees in 2012 and 2013 to find the happiest airlines for holiday travel. Airline employees had been asked to rate factors that affect workplace happiness, including: one’s relationship with his of her boss and co-workers; workplace environment; job resources; compensation; growth opportunities; company culture; company reputation; daily tasks; and job control over the work performed on a daily basis.

They evaluated each factor on a five-point scale and also indicated how important it was to their overall happiness at work. The numbers were combined to find an overall rating of employee happiness for each respondent, and then they were sorted by company to find who the happiest airline employees were.

After three consecutive years on top, Southwest Airlines (LUV) fell to No. 4 this year as American Airlines landed the No. 1 spot. With a “bliss score” of 4.33 out of 5, American is the happiest airline to travel this holiday season.

American Airlines ranked high in overall in the “company culture,” “relationship with co-workers” and “senior management” categories. One employee states they like working for American Airlines because “it’s [a] large reputable company with great employee benefits and pay.”

Flying in just behind American is Delta Air (DAL). The airline received a bliss score of 4.31, putting it in the No. 2 spot.

“Delta employees stated the way they work, as well as the rewards they receive including benefits, were key factors that contributed to their overall happiness within the company,” says CareerBliss’ chief executive, Heidi Golledge.

US Airways employees are also very pleased to be aboard. The airline earned a score of 3.96, placing it at No. 3.

“Similar to American Airlines, US Airways ranked the relationship with co-workers as a key factor in overall happiness,” Golledge says. “However, when it came to benefits and rewards, employees ranked these factors just slightly above average.”

Emotions always run high during the holidays for all employees, especially in industries that have seasonal increases in volume, such as the airlines. So when you are booking your holiday travel, consider which airline employees are truly cared for by their companies and the happiest, Golledge says. “This will impact your overall experience and make traveling over the holidays a little more blissful.”

She adds: “During the holidays–the busiest time of the year for travel— it is important to know which airlines are leading the way in employee happiness so you can feel good about using your travel budget with companies who treat their employees well. CareerBliss is proud to recognize the airlines that lead the way in creating positive work environments.”

Here are the top five airlines with the happiest employees:

1. American Airlines
2. Delta Air Lines
3. US Airways
4. Southwest Airlines
5. JetBlue Airways (JBLU)

More on Forbes

Nov 21, 2013 1:23PM
i could care less about the happiest airline , tell me about the happy passenger who gets to their destination as scheduled .
Nov 21, 2013 1:10PM
That's very nice.  Now stop screwing the passangers and try making them happy.
Nov 21, 2013 1:10PM
Interesting that American supposedly has the happiest employees.  It sure doesn't translate to quality customer service like they used to.  I quit flying American because of the poor service flight attendants provided...or didn't provide.  And that was based on how they treated other passengers and not me.  I just gave up.  Having said that, none of the airlines seem to provide any really good service anymore other than maybe Southwest?
Nov 21, 2013 1:22PM
Who pays for this type of research? It's a popularity contest. Whoever advertises the most in the travel mags wins! I travel a lot. Southwest wins hands down. For Delta to even make it into the top 50 surprises me.
Nov 21, 2013 2:36PM
WHAT? American, Delta and USAir are the freeking WORST! I've had the best experiences flying with Southwest - funny staff, bags fly free and open seating. LUV, LUV, LUV!
Nov 21, 2013 2:05PM
I'm a frequent fllyer, and this article and ranking are TOTAL b.s. .... It could not be farther from the actual truth in dealing with airline employees... Who gathered this data???
Nov 21, 2013 1:56PM
If people wanted to pay for service flights wouldn't be cheap. Old enough to recall real plates and silverware in coach and aware enough to know that today's airlines are no different than a city bus.
Nov 21, 2013 3:09PM
I just flew on American.  It can't compare to customer service on Southwest.  The employees were fine, but nothing special.  Give me Southwest any day!  American charges for everything possible.  Do they think we don't notice???  I go out of my way to recommend Southwest--even in the line for boarding an AA flight (Southwest doesn't serve every city).  Delta of course is much worse in my experience.  Air travel is misery these days and only getting worse.  The employees may be happier working for AA, but it is hard to imagine why.
Nov 21, 2013 2:50PM

Of course they are happy.


They don't have to sit in a coach seat (which is getting smaller).


They hang out in the back and yuck it up about selling us $7 peanut (yes, singular).

Nov 21, 2013 2:54PM

No way Americn has the happiest employees, not even close

Nov 21, 2013 3:16PM

How about Happy Fliers .. who don't have to be nickeled and dimed to death with fees ... luggage fees and ticket change fees > that can actually cost more than the ticket does.


And flights that actually arrive on Time.

Nov 21, 2013 2:41PM
Pan Am has the happiest because they don't have to work there anymore.
Nov 21, 2013 3:57PM
How about credit card  perks. SWA Visa 50,000 points after spending $1000.00 on the card in three months. We applied for two cards. Awarded 50,000 points each to start and anniversary points as well and either single or double rewards points on all dollars spent. We also take advantage of bonus points offered. After 3 years of short and long trips at no charge we have over 90,000 points in the bank. We use the points as well as family members and are very happy with SWA. Great service, many freebies and good humor to boot. Remember their employees are people like you and I. Treat them respectfully and in kind you will receive excellent treatment.
Nov 21, 2013 4:29PM
HOW MUCH DID American pay for this report ??????
Nov 21, 2013 2:36PM
The happiest airline is the one I fly that doesn't put some 300 lb.+ porker next to me with his/her smelly, disgusting fat rolls spilling into my seat.  The day is approaching where all airlines will require obese travelers to pay for and sit in two seats.
Nov 21, 2013 4:18PM
Nov 21, 2013 3:10PM
The poll must have been taken before US airways threw the blind man and his dog off the plane. The reason the man would not put his dog under the seat. I have veteran friends and their working dog is their friend and companion, not a one of them would put their working dog under the seat at the request of some domb*** flight attendant.So, US Airways you suck.
Nov 21, 2013 4:35PM
The only airline on that list that qualifies would be Southwest. I have not flown JetBlue in years.
I flew on a Delta flight that was not very full and the flight attendants did nothing but complain about the company, I sat next to the galley in the bulkhead. They complained so much they forgot to pick up dirty cups before landing.
Nov 21, 2013 4:01PM
I am sure AA is the happiest. Especially since they charged me about 200 dollars to change my ticket when my spouse got ill and ended up in the ICU.. AA was so nice that they did not even acknowledge my request, but I do understand that 200 dollars buy lots of alcohol... Happy Travelling  lol
Nov 21, 2013 4:25PM
Lets see how happy the American Airlines employees are next year when U.S. Airways takes them over.
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