American Air’s Changes, Booking CEO’s Pay and Viking’s Earnings



Skift Take

Today’s podcast looks at American’s reset, travel’s highest salaries, and Viking’s upbeat earnings report.

Good morning from Skift. It’s Thursday, May 30. Here’s what you need to know about the business of travel today.

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Episode Notes

American Airlines CEO Robert Isom has paid tribute to outgoing Chief Commercial Officer Vasu Raja. But Isom has indicated it was time for Raja to go amid American’s struggles, reports Airlines Editor Gordon Smith.

Isom admitted at a conference on Wednesday that American has dug itself a hole during the second quarter, with the company’s financial outlook having been downgraded. While praising Raja’s creative thinking and passion, Isom acknowledged that American needed a reset. The company has underperformed compared to rivals Delta and United across multiple key metrics, including operating margin — an important measure of profitability. 

Next, Glenn Fogel, CEO of both Booking Holdings and Booking.com, was the highest-paid travel CEO in 2023, reports Executive Editor Dennis Schaal. 

Fogel received a total pay package of $46.7 million last year, according to the Wall Street Journal. Delta Airlines CEO Ed Bastian came in second among travel CEOs, with a pay package of $34.2 million. The Wall Street Journal also scored each S&P 500 company’s total shareholder return versus its industry, with Booking Holdings and Delta among the four travel companies that got a top score.  

Finally, luxury cruise line Viking has issued its first earnings report since going public earlier this month. Senior Hospitality Reporter Sean O’Neill lists several takeaways from its quarterly earnings.

O’Neill notes Viking presented a generally upbeat report. The company, which largely targets affluent, English-speaking travelers over the age of 55, said it’s sold 91% of its possible passenger cruise days this season. 

In addition, Viking executives said they’ve sold $2.5 billion in advance bookings so far for the 2025 season.  



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