Southwest Chooses AWS to Enhance Travel Experiences

By Greg Tavarez, TMCnet Editor  |  March 16, 2023

Southwest Airlines lives by a vision to “Be the world’s most loved, most efficient, and most profitable airline.” And the airline has, for the most part, lived up to that vision over the years.

Southwest empowers its employees to take action that benefits the customers. They allow their staff to make decisions that solve customers' problems or meet their needs. The airline has a no-frills approach to travel, which means that they don't charge extra fees for things like checked bags, seat assignments or snacks.

The airline also offers a user-friendly booking process through its website and mobile app that make it easy for customers to book flights, check-in and manage their travel plans. To top it off, Southwest values customer feedback and uses it to continue to improve services.

Things like that make the travel experience easier for passengers and employees. But for Southwest to stay ahead of the competition, it needs to enhance the customer journey, better optimize operations and streamline infrastructure costs. To do that, Southwest chose AWS as its preferred cloud provider.

Going back to the app and website, the airline (with AWS) is expected to harness the automatic scaling capabilities of cloud technology to more efficiently process real-time fare searches on its website and app, even during periods of peak traffic.

How will this be done?

The airline aims to create a next-gen travel experience that caters to the evolving needs of customers through its Innovation Lab, powered by AWS. The Innovation Lab's test-and-learn capacity allows Southwest to experiment with new technologies and concepts in a controlled environment, allowing the airline to provide better customer experiences and more efficient employee tools.

As part of this effort, Southwest Airlines developed a secure system that collects and stores pricing and flight shopping data using AWS Lambda and Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3). This serverless compute service and cost-effective storage class system handles the scale and processing needed to offer competitive fare recommendations to customers across partner and Southwest digital properties.

Southwest also plans to leverage the full capabilities of AWS as a development platform, aiming to deliver automated, scalable and secure solutions.

To achieve this, the airline is implementing modernized data architecture with Amazon Redshift, a cloud data warehouse that enables analysts, data scientists and business users to gain real-time and predictive insights across the company's operations.

Southwest developers are also creating a self-service machine learning platform using Amazon SageMaker, which allows data scientists to build, train and deploy machine learning (ML) models for any use case with fully managed infrastructure, tools and workflows. This will help the airline better harness its data to develop new solutions, optimize operational applications and improve its overall performance.

“AWS will offer solutions that are critical in our drive to modernize our operation, equip our employees with the tools they need to serve our customers and improve our reliability,” said Lauren Woods, Senior Vice President and Chief information Officer of Southwest. “With the help of AWS, we will launch improved digital solutions, responsive customer support and streamlined operations as we deliver on our digital transformation initiatives.”

With the implementation of these new technologies, Southwest expects to expedite the development of new tools and products for employees and customers, delivering on its commitment to continuously innovate and improve the travel experience.

Edited by Alex Passett
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