DAN INGRAM

The past few days have been busy for the aviation industry.  Whether it is employment news, foreign affairs intrigue, or yet another United Airlines fiasco, airways have been making headlines left and right.  Good, bad, and ugly, this slice of the transportation industry presents no shortage of exciting developments this week.

When it comes to the very best places to work, most people would probably not be surprised to see a list populated by tech companies.  Infamous for their cushy salaries, generous benefits, and outlandish perks, Silicon Valley businesses try to attract and retain the best talent through being excellent places to work.  Job-hunting site Indeed.com analyzed over 15 million employee reviews to come up with a list of the best companies to work for in the U.S.  No surprise that Salesforce, Facebook, and Google hold three of the top five spots, but guess which other two companies round out the winner’s list.  Two airlines, Southwest and JetBlue, elbowed their way to number two and three, respectively.  For an industry that also appears on a “most hated companies” list (this one compiled by 24/7 Wall Street), rating among the very best employers is quite an impressive feat for an airline.

In aviation news abroad, the laptop ban once again graces the headlines, except this time the story is intertwined with the latest Persian Gulf drama unfolding around Qatar.  As previously reported by Liberty Nation, Qatar is in somewhat of a diplomatic standoff with its neighbors.  So how is the laptop ban involved?  Just as predicted here at Liberty Nation, this new rule is being used to help nudge other countries in a more favorable direction.  According to Axios, several Middle East airlines have recently secured waivers from the ban after allegedly agreeing to comply with more stringent security measures.  Qatar Airlines is the latest state-owned airline to be granted an exemption, following on the heels of a few regional rivals.  Coincidentally (or not, you decide), Qatar Airways recently announced that they would like to purchase a stake in American Airlines, according to Bloomberg.  American Airlines stock has increased by seven percent since the announcement.  The mystery continues to unfold, but the laptop ban is likely one of the variables in this equation.

Lastly, who can forget the fine folks at United Airlines?  After their now-infamous passenger-dragging incident in April, United started to desperately try and save face.  However, scandal after scandal continues to unfold at the beleaguered carrier.  Fox News compiled a thorough list of recent incidents, culminating in a new reason to hate the airline from last week.  A mother traveling with her toddler had paid for two seats.  After she had boarded the plane, she ended up losing her child’s seat to a standby passenger who had been given the same seating assignment by a gate agent.  The passenger was reportedly too scared to make a scene and instead opted to have her child travel on her lap.  United claims this was a mistake, but it took until well after the flight had landed for the company to address the issue.

There is certainly no shortage of lessons to be learned or drama to enjoy when it comes to air travel these days.  According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index®, United ranks at the very bottom of the list of domestic carries.  The top two companies?  Why, Southwest and JetBlue, of course.  Businesses that are both consumer favorites and employer favorites?  You don’t say!  Isn’t capitalism a beautiful thing?

Dan Ingram

Business Correspondent at Liberty Nation
Dan is a freelance writer specializing in finance, economics, and tax policy. He is a U.S. Army veteran and holds an MBA in Information Technology Management.He resides in New England with his wife and young son.