Southwest Airlines has always done things a little differently. While most major U.S. airlines like Delta, American, and United have long-standing relationships with the big travel management companies, Southwest has gone almost its entire 50-plus years without establishing those relationships at all.
This has made things tough for the travel agencies involved, especially since Southwest is a pretty popular airline for business travelers. Companies like American Express Global Business Travel, CWT, and BCD Travel have struggled for decades to book with Southwest, but have found the process costly and time-consuming.
Southwest in August announced agreements with Amadeus and Travelport, two of the largest global distribution providers. Unsurprisingly, travel agencies were enthusiastic about the decision. Once the changes go into effect — sometime in 2020 — booking with Southwest may be like booking with any other airline.
Skift talked to American Express Global Business Travel, the Airline Reporting Corporation, and Southwest Business to learn more about why Southwest was historically such a challenge for travel management companies.
Read this story, and many more, below.
— Isaac Carey, Travel Reporter
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The Future Of Travel
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Travel Reporter Isaac Carey [email@example.com] curates the Skift Corporate Travel Innovation Report. Skift emails the newsletter every Thursday.