SOURCE: BrightScope


May 29, 2013 09:00 ET

BrightScope Names Top 25 Airlines With the Best 401k Plans

Southwest Airlines Co. Earns the Top Spot; United Airlines, Inc. and Alaska Airlines, Inc. Follow at No. 2 and No. 3 Respectively

SAN DIEGO, CA--(Marketwired - May 29, 2013) - BrightScope (, a leading provider of independent financial information and investment research, today announced the Top 25 companies in the airline industry with the highest ranked 401k plans containing more than $100 million in assets. This is the fifth list in a new series where BrightScope highlights the strongest plans within leading industries across the nation.

BrightScope obtains an increasing amount of its data directly from plan sponsors and record keepers, and augments these primary sources with data from publicly available sources such as the Department of Labor and the Securities and Exchange Commission. By analyzing and interpreting this data, BrightScope provides unprecedented transparency into the 401k industry.

"In an industry with such a large number of employees, it is exponentially more important for workers and plan sponsors to be aware of their 401k plan quality," said Brooks Herman, Head of Research for BrightScope. "By offering tools like BrightScope's 401k Ratings tool and industry rankings, we insure both sides have a benchmark with which they can compare -- and potentially improve -- the very plans that impact the financial futures of so many."

Key statistics found on the list of airlines with the best 401k plans:

  • Average account balance for plans listed is $188,664
  • 94.57% is the average participation rate for plans on the list
  • Average company generosity for plans listed is $9,430; the median is $8,173
  • Average salary deferral for plans listed is $7,571; the median is $8,972

Top 25 airlines with the highest ranked 401k plan containing more than $100 million in assets:

Company - Plan Name - BrightScope Rating

1. Southwest Airlines Co. - Southwest Airlines Pilots' Retirement Savings Plan - 90.82

2. United Air Lines, Inc. - United Airlines Pilot Directed Account Plan - 89.17

3. Alaska Airlines, Inc. - Alaska Airlines, Inc. Pilots Investment & Savings Plan - 88.95

4. United Parcel Service Company - UPS/IPA Defined Contribution Money Purchase Pension Plan - 88.34

5. AirTran Airways, Inc. - AirTran Airways Pilot Retirement Savings and Investment Plan - 86.04

6. ABX Air, Inc. - ABX Air, Inc. Pilots Investment Plan - 85.88

7. Continental Airlines, Inc. - Continental Pilots Defined Contribution Plan (B-Plan) - 85.52

8. American Airlines, Inc. - American Airlines, Inc. Pilot Retirement Benefit Program Variable Income Plan - 85.38

9. NetJets, Inc. - NetJets Aviation, Inc. 401(k) Retirement Plan - 85.15

10. Delta Air Lines, Inc. - Delta Pilot Savings Plan - 84.83

11. Federal Express Corporation - Federal Express Corporation Pilots' Retirement Savings Plan - 84.79

12. Delta Air Lines, Inc. - Delta Pilots Defined Contribution Plan - 84.00

13. United Parcel Service Company - UPS/IBT Local 2727 Defined Contribution Money Purchase Pension Plan - 82.81

14. United Parcel Service Company - UPS/IPA 401(k) Savings Plan - 82.36

15. Federal Express Corporation - Federal Express Corporation Pilots' Money Purchase Pension Plan - 82.21

16. United Parcel Service Company - UPS/IBT Local 2727 401(k) Plan - 82.13

17. Atlas Air, Inc. - The Atlas Air, Inc. Retirement Plan - 80.58

18. Continental Airlines, Inc. - Continental Pilots 401(k) Plan - 79.61

19. United Air Lines, Inc. - United Airlines Management and Administrative 401(k) Plan - 79.04

20. US Airways Group, Inc. - Retirement Savings Plan for Pilots of US Airways, Inc. - 79.02

21. Bristow Group, Inc. - Bristow Group, Inc. Employee Savings and Retirement Plan - 78.21

22. NetJets Inc. - NetJets Inc. 401(k) Plan - 77.80

23. US Airways Group, Inc. - Future Care 401(k) Plan - 76.30

24. Alaska Air Group, Inc. - Alaska Air Group, Inc. AlaskaSaver Plan - 75.38

25. PHI, Inc. - PHI, Inc. 401(k) Retirement Plan - 74.72

The BrightScope Rating was developed by BrightScope, Inc. with the help of leading academics and independent 401k fiduciaries. By analyzing more than 200 individual data points, the BrightScope Rating algorithm calculates a single numerical value for each 401k plan. The data points examined cover broad categories such as total plan cost, company generosity and investment menu quality.

BrightScope has rated nearly 50,000 401k and 403b plans, spanning more than 57 million workers and over $3 trillion in assets. Industry adoption of the BrightScope Rating will lead to more cost-effective plans, increased participation rates, higher employee satisfaction and better outcomes for the 60 million employees who depend on their 401k plan for retirement.

About BrightScope
BrightScope is a financial information company that brings transparency to opaque markets through independent research and analysis. Delivered through web-based software, BrightScope data drives better decision-making for individual investors, corporate plan sponsors, asset managers, broker-dealers, and financial advisors. The BrightScope Rating™, developed in partnership with leading independent 401k fiduciaries, reviews more than 200 unique data inputs per plan and calculates a single numerical score which defines plan quality at the company level. In April 2011, the company launched BrightScope Advisor Pages™, the first comprehensive and publicly available directory of financial advisors designed to help consumers discover information and conduct due diligence on wealth management professionals. BrightScope also markets a suite of data analytics software products to Fortune 1000 companies, asset managers, broker-dealers, financial advisors, and other market participants. Public ratings for nearly 50,000 retirement plans as well as rating definitions, criteria and methodologies, and information on nearly 600,000 financial advisors and nearly 40,000 advisory firms are available for free at

Contact Information

  • Jessica Kipp
    Atomic PR for BrightScope
    Email Contact