Southwest Airlines (LUV) will close its physical customer support and call centers, meaning reservation agents and customer service staff will work from home permanently, in a sign of new working patterns following the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our Customer Support & Services (CS&S) Representatives will transition to fully remote work as of September 1, 2022. Representatives have been largely remote since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic,” an airline representative said in an email to AeroTime.
The airline’s CS&S representatives assist primarily with flight bookings and changes to reservations and travel.
Southwest has more than 3,200 employees that are based in its CS&S Centers in Albuquerque, Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Oklahoma City, Phoenix, and at Southwest’s Dallas Headquarters.
Along with the cost savings of not having physical customer support offices, Southwest said that transitioning to a fully remote workforce will also help attract hiring new employees.
“Evolving to a fully remote workforce brings increased flexibility, both in attracting and hiring new employees from across the country, and in scheduling current employees who have worked at record efficiency in a remote work environment,” the airline representative said.
Other US airlines like Delta, United, and American Airlines (A1G) (AAL) still have physical customer service centers. Some, like United Airlines, have focused on centers for positions that cannot be performed remotely, like the airline’s expansion of its pilot training center.