Which travel company’s CEO is rated highest by its own employees? The answer is …

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Christopher Elliott

ishot-9Southwest Airlines, according to a new survey by Glassdoor, a company that conducts online salary surveys.

Southwest workers called the company “amazing” and its CEO, Gary Kelly, “fantastic.” It was followed by online travel agency Hotwire, Continental Airlines and Marriott.

Any employee can anonymously review and rate their company, CEO and provide details about their salary and other compensation through the Glassdoor system. Part of the ratings process is also open to any candidate who has gone through a job interview at the company.

For CEO ratings, the scale runs from a 5 (very satisfied) to a 1.

Rounding out the bottom of the list are American Airlines, Hertz and United Airlines. I previously reported on Glassdoor’s United Airlines rating here. (The methodology for calculating the list was changed for this chart to allow travel companies with fewer votes to qualify for the list.)

As you might expect, the employee comments for these companies were scathing.

“No room to advance,” griped one Hertz employee in New Jersey. “No communication with the senior executives at all except for the quarterly webcasts. CEO is a ghost.”

“They have whittled away at some of our benefits (ie. less sick days, no more matching 401K and no more college reimbursement),” wrote one manager in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. “You’ll be washing a few cars every day as a manager. You’ll be CONSTANTLY barraged with ways to “save the company money” (ie. cut employees overtime, do not order office supplies, no purchase orders, etc.)”

Some of the worst comments were reserved for United’s CEO.

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“Company pride and team spirit are as low as you can get,” complained one pilot. “Reason: the company is being treated like the CEO’s personal stock portfolio and ATM, rather than a living/breathing entity.”

I was a little surprised by the companies in the middle, and toward the bottom. Starwood, Hilton and Enterprise should have performed better than they did.

As I mentioned in my initial post on CEO ratings, this could affect your next trip. When employee morale suffers, so does customer service.

My advice? Do business with a company that has a highly-rated CEO, if you can.

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can't. He's the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes three nationally syndicated columns. He also publishes the Elliott Report, a news site for consumers, and Elliott Confidential, a critically acclaimed newsletter about customer service. If you have a consumer problem you can't solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter. He is based in Tokyo.

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