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Southwest Airlines Flights Are Showing On Google Flights For the First Time and it Could Have Something to do With the Biden Administration’s War On ‘Junk Fees’

Southwest Airlines Flights Are Showing On Google Flights For the First Time and it Could Have Something to do With the Biden Administration’s War On ‘Junk Fees’

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You can now search for flights with Southwest Airlines on Google Flights for the first time after the Dallas-based carrier unexpectedly and quietly opened up its inventory on the popular ticker aggregator.

Traditionally, Southwest has shunned ticket aggregator sites and has made consumers book directly through its website or call centers, although that now appears to be changing.

For now, you’ll only find Southwest flights available to search and compare against other airlines on Google Flights rather than other popular flight search engines like Expedia.

The reason behind that is that Google Flights directs users to the Southwest Airlines website to complete the booking instead of trying to take a cut by providing its own booking service.

But why has Southwest chosen now to expand its third-party travel partnerships beyond Chase Travel and open up its inventory to Google Flights? Part of the reason could be the Biden administration’s self-proclaimed war on ‘junk fees’.

The Department of Transportation is currently in the process of introducing a new rule which will require airlines and flight search engines like Expedia to display the whole cost of a ticket, including ancillary fees like checked baggage costs, seat fees and costs associated with changing and canceling a ticket.

The idea behind the new rule is to crack down on the proliferation of basic fares that lure consumers in with a low base fare, which could quickly skyrocket when passengers add on an ever-growing list of fees.

This method of selling airfares has disadvantaged Southwest Airlines in the past because it still offers free checked baggage fees and has open seating.

Most airlines are furious with the new rule, and a group of six carriers made up of American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue, and United Airlines have joined forces with Washington DC-based lobby group Airlines For America to challenge the DOT in a recently filed lawsuit.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Southwest Airlines not only refused to join the lawsuit but has come out as a proponent of the DOTs salvo on ‘junk fees’.

Whether Southwest decides to add additional distribution channels just as Expedia in the future remains to be seen, although that would see Southwest having to give up some of the fare in the form of a commission – something the airline has never wanted to do in the past.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Southwest explained in detail: “We’re extending the reach of by giving users of Google Flights enhanced visibility into our available flights, fares, and the benefits of our products and services.”

“In our initial piloting of this partnership, we’ve made it possible for Google Flights users to compare our different fare options and click directly into to book their selected itinerary. This offers the digital experience our existing Customers and Members of Rapid Rewards know well for account management and reservation servicing options available throughout a journey with Southwest Airlines”.

“We’re excited to continue finding ways to expose more consumers to the appeal of our unique combination of value, friendly and flexible policies, and a breadth of flight service that’s built around the more than 800 nonstop routes Southwest will offer this peak summer travel season among 121 airports across 11 countries.”

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