Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
Public distaste for companies can run a little behind actuality.
By the time surveys are taken and opinions are expressed, the distasteful companies are already doing something about their poor image.
Still, when 24/7 Wall Street put together its list of America’s top 20 Most Hated Companies, not one airline made the list.
The list was compiled based on a range of factors.
These included bad news, Glassdoor reviews, customer reviews from the American Customer Satisfaction Index and even 24/7 Wall Street’s own research.
And there, at number 19, was United Airlines.
Yes, just above the Weinstein Company.
Naturally, much of the focus was on the infamous incident last year in which Dr. David Dao was dragged bloodied down the aisle of a United plane, even though he’d paid for his ticket and had been happily seated.
But United’s ACSI score is well below industry average, too.
Which suggests that the airline has much to do to regain public trust.
It’s started doing it, by insisting that it won’t bump passengers in the Dao-esque manner and will offer far more generous compensation to encourage paying passengers to give up their seats.
Still, the airline’s Basic Economy offering has been much criticized.
Passengers have chosen not to trade up to regular Economy Class to get away from it and instead booked with other airlines.
It seems, indeed, that the negative opinion of United is still there.
A consolation for the airline is that it still came ahead of Facebook in the Most Hated list.
It’s also more liked — in a relative sense, you understand — than Comcast, Uber, Monsanto and the Trump Organization.
It’s also more liked than the other airline on the top 20 Most Hated list.
That would be Spirit Airlines.
24/7 Wall Street’s verdict on Spirit is painful: “Because flying can often be stressful, many airlines attempt to make the experience as comfortable as possible for their customers. Spirit Airlines follows a different philosophy, aiming to strip air travel down to its basics by ensuring no frills, inexpensive flights.”
Spirit’s result is very much influenced by its less-than-thrilling ACSI score, which is a lowly 61.
The industry average is 75. (United scored 70.)
Worse, a Zogby survey found that 44.4 percent of those polled claimed they’d had a negative experience with Spirit.
It also gets 3.84 complaints per 100,000 passengers, while other airlines are at around the 1 per 100,000 mark.
Again, though, Spirit has tried to take off from the bottom.
In October, the airline was the third-best when it comes to on-time performance.
Again, though, what people think they see is something they really don’t like.
Neither Spirit nor United immediately responded to my requests for comment.
Both did manage, however, to be more liked that, say, the University of Phoenix, the Fox Entertainment Group or, oh, the NFL.
And which was voted the most hated American company of all?
Why, Equifax, of course.
United and Spirit must be praying that they don’t suffer a major data breach.
That could really send their rankings into the dungeon of despair.