Southwest wins preliminary injunction against flight website Kiwi to stop it from posting the airline’s fares

Southwest Heart One
A crew member boarding a Southwest plane. The injunction stops Kiwi.com from selling the airline's flights.
  • Southwest was granted a preliminary injunction, stopping Kiwi.com from displaying its fares.
  • A judge said Kiwi.com caused "damage to [Southwest's] reputation and loss of goodwill."
  • The injunction was the "whole nine yards," a lawyer for Southwest said.

A federal judge granted Southwest Airlines a preliminary injunction against Kiwi.com, stopping the discount-ticket website from posting the airline's fares.

"Kiwi breached [Southwest's] Terms by scraping Southwest flight data and fare from Southwest's website, presenting Southwest flight data on kiwi.com, and selling Southwest flights without authorization," Ada Brown, US district judge, wrote in an order dated September 30.

The injunction stops Kiwi.com from scraping fare data, displaying tickets, and selling Southwest flights - it's the "whole nine yards," a spokesperson for Southwest's law firm, Munck Wilson Mandala, told Insider via email.

Southwest sued Kiwi.com in January in US District Court in the Northern District of Texas, saying the website breached the terms of Southwest's website by scraping fare and flight information.

"As detailed in Southwest's request for a preliminary injunction, Kiwi.com improperly inflates Southwest fares and engages in other conduct that harms both Southwest and its customers," a Southwest spokesperson said via email on Friday.

He added, "Southwest is pleased that Judge Brown has ordered Kiwi.com to stop these unauthorized activities until this matter reaches a final decision."

The injunction will remain in effect until a decision at trial or another court motion.

Brown wrote that Kiwi.com had "caused Southwest to suffer damages, including damage to its reputation and loss of goodwill from customer complaints and increased customer service burdens and disruption to operations."

Southwest is also in an ongoing legal battle with Skiplagged, another travel search site. The airline in previous court filings had sought details about the relationship between Skiplagged and Kiwi.com.

Southwest is "no stranger" to suing search engines and other sites that are displaying its fares, wrote Jeffrey Neuburger, co-head of law firm Proskauer Rose LLP's Technology, Media & Telecommunications Group, in a blog post.

"What made this result particularly notable is that the preliminary injunction is based on the likelihood of success on the merits of Southwest's breach of contract claim and Kiwi's alleged violation of Southwest's site terms," Neuburger wrote.

Kiwi.com didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. But the company has told Insider in recent interviews that it was unreasonable for Southwest to claim it had broken the airline's website's terms of service.

In July, a Kiwi.com spokesperson told Insider: "Southwest makes its flight and fare data publicly available to the entire internet, and it cannot legitimately prevent fare competition and price comparisons through enforcement of its browsewrap terms of use, to which Kiwi.com never agreed in any event."

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