Travel & Tourism

June, 30, 2004 - 11:59 AM / ET

Southwest Airlines Spanish-Speaking Customers Can Now Make Their Online Flight Reservations in Spanish at southwest.com/vamonos
New Feature on the Internet at southwest.com/vamonos

Low Air Fares are Available in Two Languages


Dallas, TX--(HISPANIC PR WIRE)--June 30, 2004--Southwest Airlines today celebrates the launch of its Spanish booking engine available at http://www.southwest.com/vamonos where Customers can make their flight reservations entirely in Spanish on the Internet. With the online booking tool, travelers can take advantage of Southwest’s low air fares and frequent flights en español (in Spanish). For more information, visit: http://www.southwest.com/jp/enespanol.shtml?src=PR_vamonos_063004.

“Our goal is to be innovative when it comes to Customer convenience in Spanish. We wanted southwest.com to be the first U.S. major airline web site to offer Customers the choice of making their flight reservations from start to finish in Spanish on the Internet,” said Kevin Krone, Southwest’s vice president of interactive marketing.

According to Census Bureau figures, the Hispanic population, the nation’s largest minority group, reached 39.9 million on July 1, 2003. The Hispanic population grew 13 percent from April 2000 to July 2003, almost four times that of the total population which increased 3 percent. Also, according to the America Online(R)/RoperASW U.S. Hispanic Cyberstudy, about half of online Hispanic consumers (49%) want more web sites in Spanish. With today’s launch, Southwest Airlines is addressing the growing Hispanic community and their online preferences.

At http://www.southwest.com/vamonos, travelers can obtain information in Spanish about Southwest’s policies, travel tips, airport information, a route map, fare rules and restrictions, and Company information. Travelers also can read a monthly Customer message in Spanish from Southwest’s President and Chief Operating Officer Colleen Barrett. For a screen shot of what the Spanish online booking tool looks like, go to: http://www.southwest.com/about_swa/press/040630_vamonos.html.

Southwest Airlines partnered with Ion Global San Francisco, an Internet professional services firm specializing in building multilingual web sites, to translate the in-language Spanish functionality. "Ion Global has developed multilingual web sites for global companies since 1995, but over the last year we have seen an increasing demand from clients to reach ethnic groups within the U.S.," said Simon Mathews, head strategist for Ion Global. "We are proud that Southwest Airlines selected Ion Global to help it become the first U.S. major airline web site to offer its customers the choice of making online flight reservations in Spanish."

“If you look at the areas we serve such as California, Texas, and Florida, we are in a favorable position to serve the growing Hispanic population. Southwest Airlines is providing an additional resource to better serve our Spanish-speaking Customers traveling for business or pleasure,” said Joyce Rogge, Southwest’s senior vice president of marketing. “Our Customers can now book their flights online in Spanish or call 1-800-VAMONOS to make their reservations in Spanish over the phone. With these options available, we encourage Customers to choose Southwest when traveling on business or when visiting their families and friends.”

In 1995, Southwest was the first major airline to launch a web site in the airline industry. Today, southwest.com is considered the largest airline web site and ranks as one of the largest e-commerce sites with the likes of Amazon.com. Southwest now estimates that more than 57 percent of its annual revenues—in excess of $3 billion—is generated through online bookings via southwest.com.

Southwest Airlines touches the Hispanic community through its community-wide efforts, including grass-roots promotional efforts, national, and local event sponsorships, and support of civic organizations such as the National Hispanic Cultural Center, Hispanic Heritage Awards Foundation, League of United Latin American Citizens, United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the National Council of La Raza.

Southwest Airlines was recognized by HISPANIC Magazine in 2004 as part of the Hispanic Corporate 100, the Top 25 Vendor Programs for Latinos, and the Top 25 Recruitment Programs. The Hispanic Corporate 100 award focuses on Southwest Airlines’ leadership in providing opportunities for Hispanics and for supporting recruitment, scholarships, minority vendor programs, and Hispanic organizations. Southwest has received the award for a total of eight years.

Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) is the nation’s largest domestic carrier in terms of scheduled domestic departures. The airline currently serves 60 airports in 59 cities in 31 states. Based in Dallas, Southwest currently operates 2,800 flights a day and has 34,000 employees systemwide.

Ion Global (http://www.ionglobal.com) is one of the world’s leading Internet professional services firms focusing on the architecture and development of global, multilingual and multicultural web sites. The company’s core service offerings - Internet strategy, user experience, technology, online marketing and business process outsourcing - combine to deliver pragmatic and effective e-business solutions for clients. With presence in San Francisco, Hong Kong, London, Seoul and Tokyo, Ion Global works with clients such as Southwest Airlines, HSBC, Cathay Pacific, Procter & Gamble, Samsung, L'Oréal, Emirates Airlines, MCI and others. Ion Global is a wholly owned subsidiary of chinadotcom corporation (Nasdaq: CHINA).

http://www.southwest.com

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CONTACT:
Media:
Edna Ruano (Bilingual Spokesperson – English & Spanish)
214/792-4309
or
Public Relations:
214/792-4847
or
Ion Globa
Simon Mathews
(415) 341-1248








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