Southwest Airlines Expands Partnership With Sabre to ‘Welcome Business Travelers Back to the Sky’

Southwest Airlines is now offering flights on Southlake-based Sabre's major global distribution systems. With Travelport and Amadeus already secured, the Dallas-based air carrier says this is the first time business travelers and agents can book a flight within all three major GDSs.

Two North Texas travel pioneers are expanding on a decades-old partnership to make it easier to book business trips at low fares.

Dallas-based Southwest Airlines is now offering flights within Sabre’s global distribution system (GDS), giving more organizations the ability to quickly book and modify travel with just a few clicks. This marks the first time in Southwest history that business travelers and agents can book a flight “at an industry-standard level of participation within all three major GDSs.” Southwest bookings are also available on Travelport and Amadeus.

Sabre, the Southlake-based global provider of travel software and technology, will now sell flights directly through its leading corporate booking channel in the U.S. 

According to the companies, this makes it easier for travel management companies and corporations to shop, book, and service Southwest flights on behalf of their business travelers. It’s an expansion of a 26-year partnership between the industry giants—and represents an important milestone, they say.

Expands reach into business travel

“Not only does this greatly expand Southwest’s reach into the business travel segment, Sabre’s travel agency and corporate customers will experience the increased efficiency, productivity, and cost-savings that comes from booking Southwest through our agency point-of-sale, Sabre Red 360, and our corporate booking solution, GetThere,” Andy Finkelstein, SVP of Global Agency Sales & Corporate Solutions for Sabre Travel Solutions, said in a statement.

The Southwest Business division was launched in 2019 with the aim to revolutionize the approach to the business travel market. By hosting the airline’s content on Travelport, Amadeus, and now Sabre’s GDSs, the company says it enhances the tools business travel decision makers need to manage their programs.

“As we bring the Southwest Effect to business travel, our number-one focus continues to be removing friction when booking travel, while at the same time investing in the booking channels used most by travelers and travel decision makers,” Dave Harvey, VP of Southwest Business, said in a statement. That’s especially important as businesses continue reopening and increasing travel across the country.

The news follows Sabre’s announcement last year that it planned to retool its airline and agency-focused businesses, strategically realigning and fully combining the two to offer a stronger, more seamless experience to customers.

Sabre changes approach to a collective lens

In changing its approach to a collective lens, Sabre intended to better serve airline and agency customers and retail, distribute, and fulfill travel. Long-term, Sabre’s vision is to create a new market for personalized travel through a platform that would be “the center of the business of travel.”

The changes were meant to build a foundation for a growth-filled future—one that was largely fueled by travel industry changes caused by the pandemic.

“We’ve taken this opportunity to accelerate the organizational changes we began in 2018 to address the changing travel landscape,” Sean Menke, Sabre’s president and CEO, said at the time. “Sabre’s new organization is built upon the premise that the retailing, distribution and fulfillment of travel will continue to evolve over the next decade and each of these elements will become even more interconnected and interdependent.”

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