Southwest: The World’s Most Admired Airline?

If you believe Fortune, Southwest is the world’s most admired airline after making it onto the top ten of the annual list of fifty best companies.

Note: Winners are culled from large U.S. corporations as well as non-U.S. companies in Fortune’s Global 500 database with revenues of $10 billion or more.

Why Southwest is ‘Most Admired’

According to the magazine, “Last year [Southwest] marked its first international flight – to the Caribbean – and the first year profits passed the $1 billion mark.” Personally, we like the free checked-bags.

Southwest CEO Gary Kelly should be used to the fuss by now; after all, his airline’s made the list for the past 21 years but he sounded as jubilant as ever: “Today, we celebrate a #7 finish on FORTUNE’s 2015 World’s Most Admired list, the only commercial airline in the top 10.” We’ve got news for you, Mr. Kelly – Southwest is the only U.S. carrier in the top 35!

How Airlines Ranked

The next highest ranking airline was Singapore at number 19,  followed by Delta at number 39 (and Delta had the biggest gain, moving up from last year’s rank of 48). But that was it for commercial airlines in the list of 50 companies.

Top 10 ‘most admired companies’ per Fortune’s 2015 list:

  1. Apple
  2. Google
  3. Berkshire Hathaway
  4. Amazon
  5. Starbucks
  6. Walt Disney
  7. Southwest American Express
  8. General Electric
  9. Coca-Cola

Winners and Losers: Non-Airline Companies

An interesting explanatory note from Fortune:

“This year four companies have landed on the 50 All-Stars for the first time – Chipotle, CVS Health,, and the financial services giant USAA, which at No. 28 is this year’s strongest debut. But not all companies fared as well. Consumer criticism and a change in leadership caused McDonald’s to slip to No. 45, its lowest rank in the seven years it has appeared in the top 50, and a hacking scandal and public stumbles resulted in Target dropping to No. 48.”



Updated: February 19, 2015