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Southwest Airlines customer service goes fully remote, reservations centers close


Traveler sees a Southwest Airlines aircraft as it departs from Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, Baltimore, Maryland on October 11, 2021.

Kevin Dietsch | Getty Images

Southwest AirlinesAs the carrier closes its reservation centers, ‘100%’ of customer service representatives will be working remotely in the near future.

In a Wednesday note, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers stated that Southwest Airlines had just made the announcement of closing their Reservation Centers and moving to remote work.

Southwest announced that the shift will take effect Sept. 1. However, the airline said most reservation agents had been working remotely during the pandemic. There are more than 3200 reservations and customer service agents located in Albuquerque and Phoenix, as well as in Houston, Chicago, Houston and Houston.

They assist travelers in making reservations or changing their plans.

According to the union, Southwest’s decision was made without input. An immediate response was not received from the union on Thursday to a request for comment.

Southwest becomes the latest company to assess whether work in an office environment is beneficial, necessary and appealing for employees in post-pandemic cultures. Southwest Airlines and others are trying to recruit new personnel as the travel market recovers from a Covid slump of two years.

Southwest released a statement saying that the transition to a completely remote workforce allows for greater flexibility in recruiting new and existing employees, as well as scheduling those who are already working at record levels in remote environments.

Delta Air Lines, United Airlines American AirlinesStill, reservations center staff are available. Delta spokesmen said that the airline doesn’t plan to alter this. Spokespeople for the other airlines didn’t immediately comment on whether they plan to make a similar change to Southwest’s.