Southwest Airlines Now On Google Flights!

Southwest Airlines Now On Google Flights!

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Here’s a very consumer friendly change when it comes to being able to comparison shop fares on Southwest Airlines…

Southwest fares now display on Google Flights

Google Flights is the most useful website for booking airfare. You can compare fares across a variety of airlines, search availability for months at a time, filter results in all kinds of ways, and even set price tracking alerts.

For those using Google Flights in the United States, there has been one major omission — up until now, Southwest Airlines fares haven’t displayed on Google Flights or most online travel agencies, so there has been no easy way to compare Southwest fares to those of other airlines on most websites.

Well, that has finally changed overnight, as Southwest fares are now showing on Google Flights, alongside all other major airlines.

Southwest Airlines fares on Google Flights

When you select a flight, you’ll see the options of Southwest’s various fare bundles, and will then be redirected to Southwest’s website to book.

Southwest Airlines fares on Google Flights

It’s also worth emphasizing how valuable this can be for repricing flights. Google Flights has a “Track prices” button, whereby you can be alerted if a fare changes. So you could book a ticket, and could then reprice it if the fare drops, and get a voucher for the difference.

Southwest Airlines track prices on Google Flights

Why hasn’t Southwest been on Google Flights?

For years, Southwest has more or less marched to the beat of its own drum. The airline didn’t care how any other airline operated, but chose to do business a certain way, ranging from not having assigned seating, to not having basic economy, to offering all passengers two free checked bags.

Historically Southwest’s distribution strategy has also been different. The airline hasn’t partnered with online travel agencies to sell fares (with the exception of Chase Travel), but instead has wanted passengers to book directly with Southwest. Google Flights isn’t able to share fares unless either the airline or a data provider give access to the carrier’s fares, and that’s something Southwest hasn’t historically allowed.

I imagine part of the logic for Southwest’s decision is that the airline doesn’t want fares to be compared directly to the competition, since it’s not apples-to-apples. Comparing a basic economy fare on a legacy carrier to a fare on Southwest just isn’t fair in terms of inclusions, so Southwest has relied on having a loyal customer base that visits Southwest’s website to book. I imagine part of the strategy has also been that Southwest wants customers to only shop on Southwest’s website when booking, and not visit other websites.

However, it’s clear that Southwest is starting to realize that it may need to conform a little bit. The airline isn’t doing that great financially, at least compared to the past, and it’s expected that the airline will be making several changes. This could include introducing an extra legroom section, and even adding assigned seating, in order to boost revenue.

I imagine that Southwest is now also testing the waters with different distribution channels. For now, Southwest is exclusively showing fares on Google Flights, and when fares are displayed, you’re sent to Southwest’s website to actually book.

I’m curious if this is the extent to which Southwest dabbles in shopping not directly through its website, or if the airline sees positive results, and then starts working with online travel agencies.

We’re finally seeing some changes at Southwest

Bottom line

Southwest Airlines fares now show on Google Flights, which is a major development, given how consistent the airline has historically been with its distribution strategy. Up until now, Southwest fares have been displayed almost exclusively through Southwest’s website, while now the airline is providing fares through Google Flights.

This is a big win for consumers, since it makes it easier to shop Southwest flights, and even to get a voucher if your fare drops.

What do you make of Southwest flights now being on Google Flights?

Conversations (15)
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  1. Kyle Guest

    With people saving half the seats on the plane, I found myself sitting in the last few rows even with B group boarding. This even happened in front of a flight attendant who instead of telling the customer saving seats that it isn't allowed, told me there were seats open in the back. Added to the fact that Southwest is rarely cheaper on the routes I fly, I have sworn off flying them.

  2. Jacob Goldberg Guest

    If you're interested in getting more accurate tracking than Google Flights for the purposes of receiving a future flight credit, check out theskykey.com. You can enter points reservations there, which you can't track on Google, and also narrow down the fare type more granularly.

  3. Ceejay Guest

    Love google flights. My only complaint is often times it provides the option to book with less than reputable websites.

  4. Brian Guest

    I like the feature of notification of price drop so it can be cancelled and rebooked.

  5. ConcordeBoy Diamond

    Though I haven't checked in a while, I still find it so odd that Google hasn't created a specific Google Flights app long ago, considering how popular their search page is.

    1. Eskimo Guest

      Selling 'clicks' would be a nightmare to implement and track.

      ITA did have an app long time ago.

  6. JRG Guest

    Great to see. I fly SWA a lot, so this helps me compare with other flight choices.

  7. Gentleman Jack Darby Guest

    Confusingly, WN's fares are not showing up on Matrix, so I guess flying them will continue to be an afterthought for me since I like to review the complete fare rules before choosing a flight.

  8. EB Guest

    Now if only Google Flights allowed you to filter our basic economy fares. It's a glaring omission.

    1. JP Guest

      Just select "carry on bag" and it solves it 80% of the time.

    2. Jordan Guest

      That helps for United, but American and Delta already allow a carry on so toggling that option would still yield basic economy fares for those carriers.

    3. Jimbo Guest

      Agree that it's extremely annoying that basic economy, i.e. zero carry-on bags, is the default search option.

  9. JustinB Member

    Not sure where I heard this, but wasn't it also an issue because Southwest didn't use SABRE and instead had their own IT booking system? Do they use Sabre now?

    1. Robbogo Guest

      Southwest migrated to Amadeus a few years back. I don’t believe their distribution strategy is related to the travel technology they use.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

ConcordeBoy Diamond

Though I haven't checked in a while, I still find it so odd that Google hasn't created a specific <b>Google Flights app</b> long ago, considering how popular their search page is.

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JP Guest

Just select "carry on bag" and it solves it 80% of the time.

3
JustinB Member

Not sure where I heard this, but wasn't it also an issue because Southwest didn't use SABRE and instead had their own IT booking system? Do they use Sabre now?

1
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