A tool to automatically alert you to Southwest price drops!
For those who read this blog regularly, you'll know that I have two passions: business intelligence and travel hacking. Nothing excites me more than being able to combine the two in novel ways; this post is the third entry in our "Travel Hacking" series that does just that!
Southwest Airlines has one of the most generous ticket change and cancellation policies in the world. Included in that policy is a truly unique gem. If the price of a flight you have already booked happens to go down, Southwest will refund the price difference to a flight credit that you can use on future bookings.
The only problem is Southwest draws the line at actually alerting you about price drops. If you happen to find that the price has gone down on your own, you are entitled to claim your credit; but Southwest will not proactively email you that a better deal is available. That's completely understandable...but means that if you don't happen to be checking Southwest for each of your booked itineraries on a regular basis you are likely to miss out on price drops opportunities.
That's where this tool comes in! It's completely free and just requires a Windows computer. All you need to do is (a) download it, (b) unzip it to C:\SouthwestTracker, and (3) follow the PDF instructions provided. It takes about 5 - 10 minutes to set up. Once it is up and running you will start getting email alerts like this whenever one of your flights drops in price!
In anticipation of a couple questions techies are likely to have after examining the tool:
- Isn't this a really complex way to get data? Wouldn't a REST query be more efficient? Absolutely it would. But Southwest's REST API has one of the most robust security schemes I have ever seen. They have gone to absurd lengths to prevent automated queries against their databases. Short of hacking, browser macro automation is the only practical approach.
- Why does this use QlikView? Isn't Qlik Sense a newer and better tool? It is, but QlikView is available as a standalone executable which doesn't require a license to open and run local applications.