How Delta Landed on the 100 Best Companies to Work For List. The only Airlines in the world to do so

The next time you have a bad day at work, imagine you’re instead in an airport surrounded by hundreds of frustrated customers demanding to know when they’ll get home. Or try ­explaining an unexpected layover to a plane full of grumpy passengers. That sort of pressure is why the airline industry is among the most stressful of work environments. But in the case of Delta Air Lines (dal, +1.40%), many employees don’t just tolerate their jobs. They love them.

Among the companies that made the cut for Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list, the most surprising may well be Delta, which is on the list this year for the first time; it’s also the first airline to make the cut in a dozen years. Unlike staff at many other firms on the list, Delta’s employees deal with the public on a regular basis, and they work in an industry known for ruthless cost cutting and economic shocks. Meanwhile, Delta doesn’t offer free haircuts or massages or other lavish perks that are familiar in fields like finance and technology. In fact, only about 5,700 of the company’s more than 85,000 employees work at headquarters—the rest are scattered in the air or on the ground at airports around the world. Continue reading