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A few weeks ago, I let you know about a great new website that allows us to track our Southwest Airlines flights for price drops. It’s called Southwest Monkey. Since that post went live, I’ve been in touch with Pavel, one of the creators. Why? Because I received an email from Southwest Airlines informing me that they had filed a “cease and desist” letter with Southwest Monkey. Not totally unexpected, right? Big corporation, little monkey :(
I contacted Pavel to see what was going on. Here’s what he told me as of a few days ago:
“As you know, we have been approached by Southwest Airlines to close down the service in a form of a few “cease and desist” letters (I believe you have gotten at least one of them). We had until last Wednesday to shut down, but as you can see, we have not complied with the request. We have posted a blog post on our website — https://www.swmonkey.com/blog/cease_desist/ — that explains what happened. We are trying to raise awareness of Southwest bullying and public information issues.”
Then as of today, Southwest Monkey, after conferring with their lawyers and having them review previous Southwest Airlines cases, shut down its website. Some of you may have received their notice. Here’s what Pavel had to say:
“Some companies are happy that someone else promotes their products, while others want all business traffic to go through their website (e.g., Southwest). This is specified in their Terms and Conditions, and it appears that violation of Terms and Conditions can be punishable by law as long as the court finds the Terms and Conditions reasonable. I am not sure at what point Terms and Conditions become unreasonable, but according to previous court rulings, judges find Southwest Terms and Conditions reasonable and enforceable.”
It’s important to follow stories like this and understand when public information issues like this come around, what small start-ups like Southwest Monkey face and how they push back. Their efforts benefit us all, even when they don’t win and are unable to sustain their business model. So we’re all back to manually checking our Southwest Airlines fares for those inevitable price drops :( And just so you know, over the couple of weeks that Southwest Monkey was online, they were able to save customers more than 43,000 points and $550 dollars. I hope that you were one of the lucky ones!