Southwest Airlines Relies on Return Path Certification to Connect with Customers

We recently co-hosted a webinar with Southwest Airlines during which we helped email marketers understand how Certification, the industry’s most recognized and valued whitelist, can help them prepare for a successful holiday season. Certification helps email marketers to ensure better inbox placement at major mailbox providers like Yahoo, Microsoft, AOL, Comcast, and more. Since releasing Domain Certification in May 2016, Certified senders can now receive benefits at both the IP address and domain level.

Southwest Airlines relies on Return Path and our Certification program to help them stay relevant and ensure high delivery rates in a very competitive marketspace. Southwest Airlines understands the importance of having a trusted advisor, like their Return Path Technical Account Manager, to help them review their email deliverability status on a regular basis and work together to ensure they reach the inbox. Through the Return Path interface, Southwest Airlines has access to robust data that allows them to be better informed so they can quickly act to resolve any deliverability or reputation issues.

In 2013, Southwest Airlines joined our Certification program and have experienced deliverability improvements since, particularly with their Click & Save weekly emails. Not only does Southwest Airlines see inbox placement rates close to 100 percent, but they also see extremely consistent delivery rates, meaning that they are not impacted by delivery fluctuations like other non-Certified senders can be. In fact, Southwest Airlines sees being certified as a sort of “insurance policy”—they know that, if they follow best practices, they’ll have good deliverability. By being Certified, Southwest Airlines sees a five to ten percentage point increase in inbox placement rate when compared with similar non-Certified senders, and this can translate to significant improvements in engagement and conversion rates, and thus, return on investment from email.


Certification has been beneficial to Southwest Airlines in other ways as well. By being part of our Certification program, they receive a daily performance report, which helps Southwest Airlines to understand how mailbox providers are viewing them as a sender. If the data doesn’t make sense, Southwest Airlines knows they can reach out to their Technical Account Manager for clarification and next steps.

Since being Certified, Southwest Airlines has also seen more timely delivery of their emails. Prior to Certification, it took 24-36 hours for their emails to be fully delivered to subscribers—that’s way too long when promoting a flash sale! Now, with Certification, their emails are delivered to their full subscriber list within an hour.

By partnering with Return Path and becoming Certified, Southwest Airlines has been able to increase their subscriber reach and improve their overall email program. Learn more about Certification and how it can benefit your email program by listening to the pre-recorded webinar and checking out our website.

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