Congratulations, Southwest, Singapore, Hertz — you’re the best companies of 2017

Southwest Airlines, Singapore Airlines and Hertz top our list of the best companies of 2017.

How do we know? Because we asked — and you answered. The results of our annual Elliott Reader’s Choice survey are now ready for your inspection.

Also in the winner’s circle: Royal Caribbean, Uber, Hilton, TripAdvisor, DirecTV, Disney, and more.

This year’s poll was a break from the past. We removed some of the more controversial (and less interesting) categories and added a few that mattered to you. It’s all explained in this post.

Our Reader’s Choice poll is meant to be a buyer’s guide for and by readers. Oddly, there’s some overlap with the 2017 watchlist. Don’t you love oligopolies? We went to great lengths to keep outside influences and ballot-box stuffers out of the process this year.

Congratulations to the winners.

Domestic airline

1. Southwest Airlines
2. Alaska Airlines
3. United Airlines
4. JetBlue Airways
5. Delta Air Lines

Southwest has historically outperformed the other airlines in our surveys. But, surprisingly, United received more votes than perennial favorite JetBlue. There’s a likely reason: JetBlue this year embraced ancillary fees and moved to a more traditional two-class configuration. Shareholders love it. Passengers? Not so much.

International airline

1. Singapore
2. Virgin Atlantic
3. British Airways
4. Lufthansa
5. Cathay Pacific

A big win for Singapore this year.

Car rental

1. Hertz
2. Enterprise
3. Avis
4. National
5. Alamo

The big car rental brands, led by a resurgent Hertz, dominated the 2017 list.

Cruise line

1. Royal Caribbean
2. Celebrity
3. Disney
4. Princess
5. Holland America

Royal Caribbean, also last year’s winner, took the top spot in a landslide. But the competition for second, third and fourth place was fierce. Disney lost out to Celebrity by just a few votes. Obviously, you can’t go wrong with any of these cruise lines.

Ground transportation

1. Uber
2. Greyhound
3. Lyft
4. Megabus
5. Turo

Uber dominated this category with a majority of the votes.

Hotel

1. Hilton
2. Marriott
3. InterContinental (IHG)
4. Wyndham Hotel Group
5. Best Western

What a remarkable turnaround for Hilton, which for years was plagued by service problems. Marriott, which just acquired Starwood, had a respectable second-place finish and InterContinental’s brands landed in third place.

Online travel agency

1. TripAdvisor
2. Expedia
3. Kayak
4. Booking.com
5. Priceline

Who would have thought TripAdvisor would be your favorite online travel agency? Expedia’s second-place finish was something of a surprise, given the high number of complaints.

Subscription TV

1. DirecTV
2. Comcast
3. Verizon Fios
4. DISH Network
5. AT&T U-verse

Biggest surprise: Comcast, which is in the middle of reinventing its customer service approach. It seems to be working. AT&T (DirectTV and U-verse) also scored high.

Theme park

1. Epcot (Disney World)
2. Magic Kingdom (Disney World)
3. Disneyland
4. Universal Studios (Orlando)
5. SeaWorld (San Diego)

A clean sweep by Disney.

Travel insurance

1. Allianz Global Assistance
2. Travel Guard
3. Insuremytrip.com
4. Squaremouth
5. TripMate

A strong showing by Allianz. Insurance sites also performed well in this survey. Both Allianz and Squaremouth are sponsors of this site.)

Vacation rental

1. Airbnb.com
2. VRBO
3. HomeAway
4. FlipKey
5. Tripping.com

No question, Airbnb dominates in this category.

Wireless carrier

1. AT&T
2. Verizon Wireless
3. T-Mobile
4. Sprint
5. Consumer Cellular

AT&T edged out Verizon by only a few votes. Interestingly, AT&T also receives far more complaints from readers than the other wireless carriers, so it’s a love-hate relationship.

All in all, the results suggest our readers are savvy and focused on finding quality at a fair price. Companies that deliver that winning combination are rewarded with votes, as it should be.

Underwritten by

Underwritten by AirHelp

AirHelp is the world’s leading flight delays compensation company, helping passengers apply for compensation following a delayed or canceled flight or when boarding has been denied. It is AirHelp’s mission to fight for passenger rights by holding airlines accountable for flights disruptions that are out of passengers’ control. AirHelp has already helped 5 million people, taking the stress out of applying for compensation and making it as hassle-free as possible for travelers around the world.

Underwritten by Allianz Travel Insurance

The Allianz Travel Insurance company has built its reputation on partnering with agents all around the world to provide comprehensive travel insurance for their clients. Contact Allianz Travel Insurance for a comprehensive list of coverage.

Underwritten by Chubb

Chubb is the world’s largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company, and recognized as the premier provider of insurance for successful individuals and families in the U.S. and selected international markets, offering coverage for high-value automobile, homeowners, recreational marine/aviation, valuables and umbrella liability coverage. As an underwriting company, Chubb assesses, assumes and manages risk with insight and discipline, and combines the precision of craftsmanship with decades of experience to conceive, craft and deliver the best insurance coverage and services to individuals, families and business of all size.

Underwritten by Enterprise

A family-owned, world-class portfolio of brands. A global network that spans across more than 85 countries. Some 97,000 dedicated team members sharing common values. And more than 1.9 million vehicles taking our customers wherever they need to go.

Underwritten by Fareportal

Fareportal’s portfolio of brands, which include  CheapOair and  OneTravel, are dedicated to helping customers enjoy their trip. Whether you want to call, click, or use one of our travel apps, one thing is clear: We make it easy to take it easy.

Underwritten by Insuremyrentalcar.com

An independent provider of low cost CDW/LDW insurance for use with rental cars. Up to $100,000 cover with no deductible. Policies available on a per day, per trip or per year basis. Also works with overseas rentals. Try  Insuremyrentalcar.comnow.

Underwritten by InsureMyTrip

It’s simple. InsureMyTrip finds you the right travel insurance plan, every time. InsureMyTrip is the authority on travel insurance. Rated A+ for travel insurance by the Better Business Bureau. All travelers that purchase a policy through  InsureMyTrip have access to Anytime Advocates® for claims assistance.

Underwritten by Mediacom Communications

The nation’s fifth-largest cable operator, serving the smaller cities and towns in the Midwest and Southern regions of the United States. We are a high-performance broadband, entertainment, and communications company that brings the power of modern technology and quality customer experience to life inside the connected home by combining ultra-fast gigabit speeds with personalized local and over-the-top entertainment choices that fit your lifestyle. Details at  Mediacomcable.com.

Underwritten by SCOTTeVEST

An innovative apparel brand for people who want easy access to everything they need. For those who live for every second, SCOTTeVEST lets you maximize your life. Ditch the carry-on bag and pick up a  SCOTTeVEST.

Underwritten by Virtuoso

The leading global network for luxury and experiential travel. This invitation-only organization comprises over 1,000 travel agency locations with 17,500 advisors in over 45 countries, and holds preferred relationships with 1,700 of the world’s finest travel companies. Virtuoso advisors collaborate with their clients to create personalized itineraries featuring exclusive perks, while also providing advice, access, advocacy, and accountability. For more information, visit  Virtuoso.com.

Underwritten by VisitorsCoverage

As a company that is constantly striving to simplify travel insurance, VisitorsCoverage, is on a mission to help travelers make the better decisions about purchasing travel insurance, quickly. VisitorsCoverage has helped millions of travelers globally to buy the suitable travel insurance and explore the world with confidence. Get insurance for your next trip at  VisitorsCoverage. Lowest Price Guaranteed.

Underwritten by MedjetAssist

Medjet is the premier global air-medical transport, travel security and crisis response membership program for travelers. With a MedjetAssist membership, if you become hospitalized more than 150 miles from home, we will get you from that unfamiliar hospital all the way home to the hospital you trust. All you ever pay is your membership fee. MedjetHorizon members add 24/7 personal security and crisis response benefits. Elliott.org readers enjoy discounted rates. Travel safer with  MedjetAssist.

Underwritten by Southwest Airlines

The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.

Underwritten by Sungard Availability Services

Leveraging more than 35 years of experience, Sungard AS designs, builds and runs critical IT services that help businesses manage complex IT, adapt quickly and build resiliency and availability. A leading provider of critical production and recovery services, Sungard AS partners with customers across the globe, delivering resilient IT systems, infrastructure and recovery services tailored to achieving desired business outcomes.

Underwritten by TravelInsurance.com

TravelInsurance.com makes it fast and easy to compare and buy travel insurance online from top rated providers. Our unbiased comparison engine allows travelers to read reviews, compare pricing and benefits and buy the right policy with a price guarantee, every time. Compare and buy travel insurance now at  TravelInsurance.com.

Underwritten by Squaremouth

Squaremouth helps travelers easily and instantly compare travel insurance policies from all major providers. Only companies that meet the strict requirements of Squaremouth’s Zero Complaint Guarantee are available on the website. Compare policies on  Squaremouth.com to save over 70 percent on your next purchase.

Underwritten by Travel Leaders Group

Travel Leaders Group is transforming travel through its progressive approach toward each unique travel experience. Travel Leaders Group assists millions of travelers through its leisure, business and network travel operations under a variety of diversified divisions and brands including All Aboard Travel, Andrew Harper Travel, Colletts Travel, Corporate Travel Services, CruCon Cruise Outlet, Cruise Specialists, Nexion, Protravel International, SinglesCruise.com, Travel Leaders Corporate, Travel Leaders Network and Tzell Travel Group, and its merger with ALTOUR. With more than 7,000 agency locations and 52,000 travel advisors, Travel Leaders Group ranks as one of the industry’s largest retail travel agency companies.

Underwritten by Travelers United

If you’ve been mistreated by the airlines, Travelers United is your voice in Washington. Join the #1 travel advocacy organization working with Congress to improve and protect travelers. Plus, get $400 of annual benefits you can use for travel for only $29/year. Add your voice to ours. Make travel better.  Join today.

%d bloggers like this:
Get smart. Sign up for the newsletter.