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Is American One of the ’10 Most-Hated Companies in America’?

Is American One of the ’10 Most-Hated Companies in America’?

According to Marketwatch, the 10 most-hated companies in America, ranked from most to least, are as follows:

  1. J.C. Penney
  2. Dish Network
  3. T-Mobile
  4. Facebook
  5. Citigroup
  6. Research in Motion
  7. American Airlines
  8. Nokia
  9. Sears
  10. Hewlett-Packard

American Airlines? Among the country’s most despised companies? Since when?

Or, more to the point: How were these companies identified and ranked? How is it that American is on the list and Spirit, for example, is not?

According to the article, the “most hated” designation is based on a company’s failings in three areas: “Corporations can anger their customers, fail their shareholders, and mistreat their employees.”

And here’s how American fared:

AMR, parent of American Airlines, has, in a remarkably short period of time, ruined its relationships with shareholders, bondholders, pilots, customers, suppliers, and most of its other employees. The November 2011 Ch. 11 bankruptcy filing of AMR virtually wiped out shareholders. Recently, American was also able to cut financial obligations to airplane manufacturers and holders of the corporation’s debt, harming the financial status of these. The company has been bickering with its pilots for months over compensation. The mass layoffs that often accompany bankruptcy proceedings began long ago. American’s image with passengers has also taken a beating. It was recently named the U.S. carrier with the rudest employees.

Granted, American’s bankruptcy has soured the airline’s relationship with its shareholders and debt holders. And the company’s dealings with its employees, pilots in particular, have been contentious.

But among American’s customers, I find that the defectors continue to be far outnumbered by the loyalists. (For an example of such pro-American sentiment, see the comments following this “Who’s in Favor of a US Airways-American Merger” blog post.)

It can be argued that such loyalty is delusional, based more on American’s storied past than on its troubled present. But whatever its source, the goodwill persists, in spite of the company’s operational lapses and its disgruntled workers.

There may be a place for an airline on the list of most-hated companies. But to the extent that customer satisfaction is a factor, it’s much more likely to be Spirit or US Airways than it is to be American. At least for now.

Reader Reality Check

Which airline would you nominate to be included on a most-hated list?

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  • Flying Blue

    Worst company for client service, rudest employees = United. No question about it

  • Stephen

    The list is heavily biased towards people who own stock. For example, Nokia really just isn’t on the radar yet of many in the US, at least not their current products. Most consumers have a positive image of Nokia in terms of build quality and such (see the indestructible nokia meme that’s floating around). And no customers are upset who have bought lumia phones, everyone pretty much loves them (all 17 of them in the US).

    Ok, ok, American might have some issues, but top 10 most hated companies? There’s far worse airlines in the U.S. to hate.

  • Edgar Numrich

    Considering who owns Marketwatch (Rupert Murdoch via The Wall Street Journal), their level of credibility is about on a par with Lance Armstrong’s.

    And just one more reason why I read and rely on the honesty of this newsletter each week.

    Thanks for reminding us what old buzzards feed on.

    And “Buy American!”

  • Ricardo Schack

    Actually, being that I actually resent the monopoly American has over DFW, buts still sends us to JFK or Miami to go to Europe, I am one of those who is looking for an excuse to rail against AMR, my experiences with the airline have been excellent over the last 6 months. Timely flights, gracious staff stateside an abroad. Maybe it was not a good investment, but, to me, it has been a good airline.

  • Mike Henderson

    How does USAir not make this list?

  • Adam Levy

    Bunch of hooey, this list.

  • Michael Mathews

    I’m a loyalist to American Airlines. I generally receive good to excellent service. There is no question that flying in the back is way less pleasant than ever, so perhaps a high upgrade success rate colors my perception.
    Honestly, I think if you start your interactions with a hello and a smile and end with a thank you, you’ll find most people will be helpful.

  • kestie

    For the most part, I’ve found AA to be responsive. It’s USAir, Delta and now UAL that are problematic.

  • Frank Stacey

    US Air definitely belongs on this list along with The Hertz Corporation.