Southwest Airlines Bullies Websites That Try to Help Passengers
Southwest Airlines is customer-friendly in some ways, from no change charges to not hitting prospects with checked bag charges. Their staff are pleasant and really appear to like their jobs.
There’s actually only one a part of the corporate that appears to hate folks, and that’s authorized. They’ve been extra aggressive than most airways in going after web sites that pull knowledge from Southwest.com and make it extra helpful to prospects.
You can’t verify your Rapid Rewards stability with AwardWallet or related account aggregator websites. Services that arrange to routinely verify you in 24 hours earlier than your flight to guarantee a greater boarding place with out having to keep in mind to be by your laptop have been shut down.
It’s comprehensible why Southwest wouldn’t need companies serving to folks get a greater boarding place, since one of many issues they do upsell on is $15 to routinely verify you in themselves. They desire a monopoly on that service.
Southwest – for essentially the most half – doesn’t pay to have their schedules and fares distributed by third occasion companies. They promote most of their tickets on their very own web site, and certainly the airline was one of many first corporations on the planet years in the past to cross over a billion in e-commerce gross sales.
Since Southwest doesn’t have change charges, if there’s a drop in fare you’ll be able to rebook and save. Airlines like United used to challenge you vouchers when fares fell, now you’d have to incur a $200 change charge to make the most of that. But it’s far more viable with Southwest. And of their revenue-based program if the value of a ticket falls, you’ll be able to rebook an award and get factors again too.
So within the fall a web site arrange to automate that monitoring – SWMonkey.com. The enterprise mannequin was to cost prospects $three in the event that they saved at the very least $10.
And as I predicted on the time, Southwest acquired the positioning shut down and it took solely about two weeks.
In the couple weeks that we had been on-line, we had been ready to save prospects greater than 43,00zero factors and $550 , and have made $45
Now either side are suing one another. Southwest is claiming “violation of its trademarks, computer fraud and breach of contract for violating the terms and conditions of its website.” The web site is searching for to affirm in court docket that they didn’t violate any logos, there’s definitely no sense through which prospects would confuse their website for Southwest.
Laws within the US have gone method too far in defending and imposing firm web site phrases and situations, on condition that I’d count on Southwest to prevail with their declare that they don’t authorize a 3rd occasion to entry their web site for this objective (with out delving into the small print of what the positioning was doing, and what these phrases really say). But I hardly assume that’s the best consequence. They provide a web site and make it publicly obtainable totally free. They publish details about their flights on that website. Taking that data and utilizing it shouldn’t be towards the legislation simply because an organization doesn’t like the way it’s getting used.
“The smooth and secure operation of Southwest.com is a key part of our customer service experience, so we restrict the use of automated scraping tools on Southwest.com,” the Dallas-based service mentioned in an announcement. “After repeated attempts to resolve issues with the Southwest Monkey website, Southwest is now pursuing claims associated with violations of our website terms and the unauthorized use of our trademarks.”
Perhaps there ought to be limits on bots, mentioned to characterize 1 / 4 of all site visitors on the web. There’s nearly no likelihood that site visitors from SWMonkey.com had a fabric have an effect on on Southwest’s servers.
Southwest says their knowledge is proprietary, and which may be true till they publish it for the world to see on the web.