Rank in Airlines: 3
(Previous rank: 4)
Overall score: 6.17
Why it's admiredSince it started offering low-cost flights in the 1970s, Southwest Airlines has been a more consistent performer than most airline companies. Recently, airlines in general have been receiving bad press for tacking on fees to compensate for rising fuel prices, but Southwest has remained one of the world's most admired.
Southwest generated strong earnings in its most recent quarter, with profits up 13% from a year earlier. The acquisition of AirTran will give the company more planes and should allow Southwest access to more markets. --S.D.
Should Southwest Airlines be admired, or what?
Southwest Airlines stats