Millennials Choose American Airlines as Top Brand

Because of millennial influence, American Airlines won its first Airline Brand of the Year honor in the Harris Poll’s 29th annual EquiTrend Study. The study, which measures brand health over time, found that American adults born after 1980 gave a big boost to travel brands—most notably airlines and cruise lines.

American Airlines has a higher equity rating in the full-service category among millennials than Delta Airlines and Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air, both of which came out on top in previous years.

In the cruise industry, millennials returned Royal Caribbean Cruises to Cruise Line Brand of the Year. Royal Caribbean captured the top spot in 2012 and 2015. The cruise line boasts an equity score of 70 among millennials, compared to an equity rating of 63 among consumers overall.

“When we consider where millennials are in their lives, we can understand why they are having such a positive impact on brand health in the travel industry,” said Joan Sinopoli, vice president of brand solutions at Harris Poll. “The oldest millennials are approaching 40 years old, with their prime earnings years still ahead of them. They have the disposable income to indulge their desire to experience the world while exploring their aspirations for luxury.”

In other findings, millennials also helped to raise equity scores in sharing economy brands—most notably Uber (15 points higher among millennials than baby boomers overall) and Airbnb (17 points higher among millennials).

Other Harris Poll EquiTrend Travel Brands of the Year:

Value Airline: Southwest Airlines

Luxury Hotel: JW Marriott

Premium Hotel: Hilton Hotels & Resorts and Marriott Hotels (tied)

Upscale Hotel: Courtyard by Marriott

Midscale Hotel: Hampton Inn & Suites

Economy Hotel: Microtel Inn & Suites

Extended Stay Hotel: Homewood Suites by Hilton

Online Travel Service:TripAdvisor

Rental Car: Enterprise Rent-a-Car