Offline agencies booking through the new Travelport Universal API will get Southwest live availability and last seat inventory because the airline is connecting to the API as part of an expanded multiyear content agreement.
The pact does not apply to online travel agencies and is not a "full content" agreement.
Under the expanded contract, traditional travel agencies on platforms connected to the universal API get Southwest's published fares and inventory, but the airline retains the right to offer certain Web fares exclusively on Southwest.com.
In addition to live availability and last seat inventory, offline agencies on platforms using the universal API also get booking and ticketing functionality that support Rapid Rewards membership numbers at the time of booking, deferred ticketing and reservation cancellations; and low fare search, Travelport says.
The following features -- an integrated display with live availability and last seat inventory, and expanded functionality such as deferred ticketing and cancel reservation -- were unavailable under the prior agreement, but are part of the expanded contract, Travelport says.
Corporations, their employees and agents using corporate booking tool Travelport Traversa, third-party booking tools and the Travelport Universal Desktop also will get access to Southwest content, Travelport says.
The agreement is global in scope, which is important in the event that Southwest expands internationally.
In recent years, Travelport has been the favored GDS for Southwest, getting access to a higher level of availability than Sabre does.
Travelport says Southwest is "among the first group of airlines" to connect to the universal API. Other airlines connecting to the API include Jet2, easyJet, BMI Baby, Wind Jet, Norwegian, Jetstar, Virgin Blue, Kulula and SpiceJet.
While the agreement highlights how Southwest has broadened its GDS distribution in recent years through Travelport, the airline still strictly controls online distribution, with Southwest.com the only online venue where consumers can access Southwest inventory.
In recent weeks, Southwest has been hammering home this theme with a TV campaign.
Here's one of the airline's recent commercials: