Southwest Airlines Deploys Varolii Interact Communications


Share on LinkedIn


Real-Time Flight Scheduling Information to Pilots Enhances Communications
Effectiveness and On-Time Flight Operations

SEATTLE-October 3, 2011-Varolii Corporation, the independent market and
technology leader in interactive, personalized business-to-consumer text,
voice and email communications, today announced that it has partnered with
Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV), the nation’s leading low-fare carrier, to
streamline its process for matching pilot availability with flight needs.
Using the Varolii Interact platform, Southwest Airlines uses SMS text
messages to more efficiently and effectively alert pilots of flight
scheduling opportunities. Based on Varolii’s Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)
solution, Southwest Airlines’ Open Time Alerts (OTA) helps the airline
quickly staff unassigned flights, ensure on time flight operations and
reduce costs from a less efficient, manual process.

In cases of illness or other circumstances that prevent a pilot from
attending their scheduled flights, airlines are left with “open time”, or an
uncovered shift, that must quickly be reassigned. Prior to implementing the
OTA solution, Southwest’s crew scheduling departments had to make hundreds
of manual phone calls each day to pilots to fill open shifts. Schedulers
were also required to follow a specific call sequence, starting with the
most senior pilots, which created lag times from waiting for responses
before moving on to the next pilot on the list. This not only wasted
resources, but made it difficult to efficiently schedule pilots for unfilled
flight times.

With the Varolii Interact platform, Southwest’s OTA solution provides pilots
with an opt-in program that delivers SMS text messages directly to their
mobile devices to alert them of open flights and give them the real-time
opportunity to opt-in to staff specific flights. Each message includes
detailed flight information, including the length of the assignment,
overnight accommodations, if necessary, flight time and more. Pilots receive
the information in a pre-determined cascade of priority, based on seniority
and other factors, and can respond instantly on their phone using Varolii
Interact’s two-way text messaging capability to notify Southwest’s crew
scheduling department if they are interested in the assignment. As a result,
Southwest has been able to streamline its scheduling processes and improve
the flow of information to their pilot group.

“With the pervasiveness of today’s mobile devices, we knew we needed to
adapt our communications strategy to meet the changing needs of our pilots,”
said Russell McCrady, senior director of crew operations and employee
resources at Southwest Airlines. “Varolii Interact enables us to tap into
this real-time response channel and reap the benefits of mobile
capabilities. This has not only helped us to assign flights faster and
easier as pilots are more apt to respond; but, the solution has nearly
eliminated the need for repetitive, laborious calls to pilots. This has
freed up the scheduling staff to focus on the operation and improve our
overall productivity.”

Southwest Airlines uses Varolii to exchange more than 100,000 OTA text
messages to pilots each month. Out of the airline’s 6,067 active pilots in
the company, more than two-thirds have signed up for the opt-in OTA program
since the solution was first implemented in December 2010.

“Our collaborative goal with Southwest Airlines continues to be not only to
improve business efficiencies, but ultimately deliver the best experience to
the targeted customer,” said Andrea Austin, vice president at Varolii. “At
the heart of the OTA solution is the ability to ensure that flights will run
as scheduled. By easily assigning the right pilots to open shifts, Southwest
Airlines has been able to draw upon Varolii technology to significantly
limit unnecessary flight delays, improving customer satisfaction and overall
business performance. These kind of business-results outcomes are at the
heart of our partnership with Southwest where we are both focused on
delivering superior results for their business, employees and passengers

Varolii’s technology, through its Global Network Service, automatically
directs traffic to the optimal geographic region, all within a cloud
environment, allowing the Southwest solution to be more resilient and
self-healing. This optimized routing is based on a combination of static and
adaptive metrics, including business policies, network conditions and the
health of the application itself. This strategy has helped to ensure overall
improved performance of the Southwest Airlines solution.

Southwest Airlines currently operates more than 1.2 million flights per
year. Southwest Airlines relies on Varolii to deliver more than 5 million
intelligent, personalized digital communications to flight crew members, as
well as passengers and employees each year to quickly and efficiently notify
them of flight status, disruptions, gate changes, and other critical
information. In addition to Southwest, Varolii partners with a number of
leading airlines, enabling them to reach passengers and employees in a
smart, personalized and cost-effective way with its Varolii Interact

About Varolii Corporation
Varolii is the market and technology leader in intelligent, personalized
interactive communications. Its cloud-based communication solutions help
organizations easily and effectively reach and interact with large numbers
of consumers and employees, reducing operational costs, improving business
continuity and enhancing customer service. Varolii provides the industry’s
only cross-channel communications technology, which blends voice, mobile and
email channels to drive profitable action. At the heart of the platform is
Varolii IDT, which automatically analyzes each recipient’s past responses to
personalize future communications. With Varolii, organizations can execute
true 1-to-1 communication on a large scale, achieving better results from
fewer interactions. More than 380 companies trust Varolii to send over four
million communications every business day. For more information, visit

About Southwest Airlines Co.
In its 40th year of service, Southwest Airlines continues to differentiate
itself from other low-fare carriers–offering a reliable product with
exemplary Customer Service. Southwest Airlines is the nation’s largest
carrier in terms of originating domestic passengers boarded. Southwest
serves 72 cities in 37 states and is one of the most honored airlines in the
world known for its commitment to the triple bottom line of Performance,
People, and Planet. To read more about how Southwest is doing its part to be
a good citizen, visit to read the Southwest Airlines One
ReportT. Based in Dallas, Southwest currently operates more than 3,400
flights a day and has more than 35,000 employees system-wide. Earlier this
year, Southwest Airlines completed the acquisition of AirTran Holdings,
Inc., and now operates AirTran Airways as a wholly-owned subsidiary. AirTran
serves 63 cities in 30 states and currently operates more than 790 flights a
day. Additionally, AirTran serves seven international destinations in the
Caribbean and Mexico. AirTran employs more than 8,500 Employees across the
# # #

News Editor
CustomerThink offers a free news posting service for press releases relevant to our community. To submit your press release to our news editor, send an email to [email protected] with the press release headline and main content in the email subject line and body, respectively. That's it! Approved press releases will appear in our news category within one business day of submission.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here