Southwest has recently filed a cease and desist notice against TripIt, demanding that the travel itinerary and loyalty program management company stop helping its customers monitor their Rapid Rewards accounts. The demand, based on the fine print T&C on southwest.com, alleges that TripIt was violating the intellectual property rights of the airline by scraping data to provide access to recent transactions, point balances and other account details.
According to a TripIt spokesperson the demand was spread across all comparable tools, not just the TripIt product, as Southwest works to strictly limit access to the data on their site. TripIt has complied with the demands from Southwest and removed the access to that data from the site.
This is a terribly anti-consumer move by Southwest. They certainly do not want to be in a position of other companies misrepresenting the data about Rapid Rewards accounts or other details that are published on the site, but there is no indication that there is any such activity going on. These monitoring sites simply make it easier for customers to understand what their points balances are, monitor expiration dates and other similar functions. Yes, these site increase the value that customers can derive from the loyalty programs. Is that really what Southwest is trying to prevent?
This is the latest in a series of moves that Southwest has made which adversely affects their customers. Sure, bags fly free, but with all these other negative moves it seems that it will be harder and harder for them to continue their claim that they’re so customer-friendly. After all, moves like this one certainly are not.
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I’m with Chris. I plan to hand out all of my drink coupons on my next Soutwest flight. Pass it on.
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