This week FORTUNE magazine churned out its annual list of “most admired” companies.
While most of the top 10 are not specifically travel-related companies, they all have a profound impact on our daily lives as frequent travelers. Here’s what I mean.
1) Apple. Think about how Apple has transformed the travel experience with the iPhone and iPad. These days 48% of TravelSkills readers access the blog from mobile devices and we have Apple to thank for that. And Apple has been pumping soothing music into our ears for years helping us to forget about cramped cabins and screaming babies, right?
Related: 6 tips for taking better iPhone pics
2) Google. I can’t think of a company that has altered the travel experience more in the last decade than Google. Most helpful for me as a frequent driver is its new Waze map app— a wizard at showing me short cuts around traffic, and keeping me alerted to speed traps. Then there’s flight status. Did you know that you can enter “Delta 134” in the Google search bar and get immediate flight status? Or enter “SFO JFK” and get an immediate “ballpark” figure on flight price. Oh, and then there’s ITA Matrix, the best airfare research tool out there. The list goes on and on…
3) Berkshire Hathaway. In addition to owning NetJets, which is perhaps the best known provider of private jet services, Berkshire Hathaway is a big provider of travel insurance, most recently rolling out an innovative new protection product called Aircare that pays you up to $1,000 for things like missed connections or long tarmac delays.
4) Amazon. Let’s face it, frequent travelers rarely have time to shop. With Amazon at our fingertips, we can order nearly anything online from the plane or hotel room and have what we need at home when we get there. Sorry SkyMall! Related: SkyMall bankruptcy no surprise
5) Starbucks. We just wrote about how frequent travelers should strive to soak up local culture by drinking coffee like locals do. But do we always do so? Or is the most frequently phrase we use overseas, “Where’s the nearest Starbucks?” In addition, Starbucks and Delta just partnered and will serve a whopping 68 million cups of coffee this year on Delta flights.
6) Walt Disney. Walt Disney not only touches us when we are on vacation with the kids, but when we are standing in line at TSA, which took its queue control technology from Mickey.
7) Southwest. Despite the fact that it’s not always the lowest fare option any more, Southwest’s no-nonsense business practices around boarding planes and not charging penalties for itinerary changes resonate with frequent travelers. I just wish they still had an AirTran-like business class section for those long flights…but that would probably just complicate things.
8) American Express. Were it not for a large cash infusion and long term support from American Express, Delta Air Lines would likely not be around these days. Frequent travelers also love AMEX for its new Centurion clubs and highly regarded Membership Rewards program.
Related: First look Centurion Club at SFO
9) General Electric. It’s not just lightbulbs. The GE conglomerate is one of the largest jet engine manufacturers in the world.
10) Coca Cola. The other most frequently used phrase by frequent travelers? “I’ll just have a diet Coke.” Or a “Coke light” when overseas. Right?
Other travel companies near the top of the most-admired list?
19) Singapore Airlines
37) Marriott International
39) Delta Air Lines
Here’s the full list of 2015’s most admired companies from FORTUNE.
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