Southwest Airlines announced a new partnership with popular rideshare company Lyft to bring customers to and from the airport.
Southwest Airlines / Lyft
Southwest To/From The Airport
The new partnership allows Southwest Airlines’ customers to add transportation to and from the airport through the use of its mobile application on both iOS and Android platforms. Starting on June 28, 2018, the Southwest Airlines mobile application will be updated to show a request for a Lyft ride banner four hours before the first flight departure of an itinerary. The request can be performed before or after the customer checks into the flight. Additionally, customers can also request a Lyft rideshare service after they arrive at their destination. After request is confirmed, Lyft will provide information on where to wait for the car upon exiting the airport terminal. In both cases, customers will need to turn on location services and also have the Lyft mobile application/account installed to successfully request a ride.
“At Southwest, we’re always looking for innovative ways to enhance our Customer Experience from the moment someone considers travel to the moment they land at their destination,” said Ryan Green, Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer. “Our new integration with Lyft aims to make this particular part of the travel experience seamless by starting and ending a Customer’s journey with just a tap of a button.”
Giving Customers A Lyft And The Competition
Lyft is the fastest growing rideshare company in North America and serves more than 150 airports in the United States and Canada. Southwest Airlines is the third airline to form a partnership with Lyft following JetBlue Airways and Delta Air Lines. The rideshare company integrated the request function directly into these airlines’ mobile applications for better convenience.
It’s chief rival Uber was the first to form a partnership with United Airlines almost four years ago. They also have the most partnerships with American Airlines, KLM, Jet Airways, Air Asia, and Qantas Airways also finding a spot in the client list.
Customer Experience And Technology Integration
A lot has been said about customers’ entire travel experience from leaving to the airport from a home/hotel/office to reaching their final destinations at a home/hotel. Getting to and from the airport plays a role in setting the tone of this travel experience. By integrating rideshare company functions into their mobile applications, airlines improve efficiencies and potentially reduce anxiety caused by this portion of the journey.
Technology integration can also play a role in how airports would be designed in the future. For example, if more ridesharing is used by Southwest Airlines customers over others, perhaps the airport authority could change the designated pickup/drop off point closer to the airline’s terminal. Long term analysis on how ridesharing is used as a transportation mode to and from the airport could have a material impact in future airport designs.
Just The Beginning
The new Southwest and Lyft partnership could just be the beginning for the airline to further improve customer experience. Beside the convenience it brings, the airline can reward its customers and frequent flyer program members with promotions and other benefits with the rideshare company. For example, Delta Air Lines and JetBlue Airways’ customers can earn miles by taking Lyft rides.
There will be instances when a customer is left without public transportation when their Southwest flight is delayed on arrival, it is possible for the airline to set up specific arrangements with Lyft to shuttle these passengers to their final destinations when the situation warrants it.
As Lyft continually updates its mobile application functionalities, it would be easier if they allow airline customers to request a ride from the moment a ticket is issued so that they have some assurance in lower saturation markets that a ride would be available to transport them to the airport. While most travellers are accustomed to seeing how long it will take for a driver to reach the pickup point at arrival, they do not currently have information on how long it will take to reach this pickup point from their arrival gate with baggage pickup and customs taken into consideration. Southwest can make this experience more seamless by working with airport authorities to map time requirements incorporating potential custom checks and baggage pickup.
About Larry Leung and Experience The Skies
Experience The Skies is a consulting company based in Toronto, Canada that specializes in the travel industry with focus on the assessment, competitive analysis and development of loyalty programs, technologies, marketing, ancillary revenue solutions.Follow Experience The Skies on Twitter, Facebook, Flipboard, and Instagram.