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Stanford grad's site nets Southwest 'cease and desist' (paloaltoonline.com)
33 points by _6kat on Oct 24, 2012 | hide | past | favorite | 21 comments

I agree with taking him down in this case. A quick Google search would reveal that it's been done before and taken down before.

Southwest goes above and beyond the industry norm for making air travel painless (I fly them every week) and they have the right to keeping people from gaming the system.

The best solution I've found is to set your calendar reminder for 24hrs before your flight, with the confirmation number in the "Where" field, then quick copy/paste into their smartphone app. Takes two seconds and always gets you on the A-List. If that's too much work for you, pay them $10 for Early Bird.

This guy will make it more painful for the rest of us when they add CAPTCHAs.

> I agree with taking him down in this case. A quick Google search would reveal that it's been done before and taken down before.

Only for commercial sites, right?

Anyway, if he just distributed the source code, there'd be nothing to stop people from running this on their own computers, I'd think.

I agree. And I don't think it poses a real problem if a very small percentage do this. The problem is when instead of paying Southwest $10 for Early Bird a large group uses this guy. I find it wonderful that I don't need to pay a premium for an exit row or aisle seat, unlike other airlines. I'm openly biased toward Southwest, but only because they've earned it.

And if too large of a group uses it then some will start paying the $10.

Your second paragraph seems as though you're arguing that Southwest's high level of customer service somehow affects the ethics of making a site like this.

I am arguing that (beyond their legal right). I can overlook someone circumventing a company who treats their customers poorly, but I believe a company who excels at customer service deserves a higher level of support in return from their customers. "Do unto others," if you will.

This is why I don't fly Southwest...I hate their first come first serve policy. Essentially what this does is play smart and check you in early so you get a good seat. I don't see how it's any different than setting an alert to remind you to sign in and do it manually.

God forbid they lose the ridiculous $10 'upgrade' fee.

Except that it makes getting on the plane and seating yourself extremely efficient, which saves Southwest money, which saves you money.

It's actually not nearly as efficient as being able to select your seat when you purchase your ticket.


Disagree. That's outwardly more efficient, but it turns out that when we're tasked with sorting and arranging ourselves, we do this whole boarding a plane thing pretty efficiently (especially when we have a vague sense of our chances of finding a convenient spot for our bags or a good seat).

Here's a question. What if you build an app or site that is a wrap around for cURL but that is used locally.. I.e. it's your machine or iPhone or Android that actually makes the necessary URL calls to check in at exactly 24 hours before check in? Does that violate ToS? Where do we draw the line?

Companies only show their incompetence by sending these letters.

You know what we do when spammers get through our filters, or people make posts on our company discussion forum that contravenes our TOS? We hire dozens of lawyers, file multiple lawsuits against them, and fight it in the courts to the bitter end!!

No, that's not what we do.

We improve our spam filters.

When people find away around 'the system', we can either fix 'the system', or change the expectations of what people will use 'the system' for. ('The system' can be anything, it doesn't even have to be internet or contract related.)

Suing people and hiring lawyers is what clueless people with technical and social incompetence do because they are bullies.

In this case, the letter seemed to achieve the desired aim just fine.

I guess this is ruining the airlines margins when you miss a flight and they cancel your return flight while they are at it, and pocket all the fares.

If you miss your flight on Southwest they credit 100% of your money back - even if it's your own fault for sleeping in.

Is that true? My experience is that you're both wrong. You retain what you spent on the flight as credit w/ Southwest for future travel.

What I meant by "100% credit" is 100% credited back into your SWA account - not cash back - but that's still amazing by industry standards.

If you pay full fare on southwest ("anytime" fare) - they are refundable for any reason. If you have a discount fare, they are 100% creditable. Southwest is really great in the regard.

What? That's not what this was doing at all. Not checking in won't cause you to miss your flight, just get a worse seat.

Welcome to the real world, kid. Mommy's not going to check you in anymore, and if you've got a clever way to take advantage of a big company's systems in spite of their policies, keep it on the down low.

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