June 24, 2009
Southwest Airlines' Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Customers to Benefit from Partnership with Sprint Relay
Beginning today, deaf, hard-of-hearing, and speech disabled customers needing to call Southwest Airlines can dial a dedicated toll-free TTY telephone number: 800-533-1305. That number is answered by a Sprint relay agent who immediately connects to the Southwest Airlines customer service representative. The Sprint relay agent relays information between the Customer Service representative and the relay user in English or Spanish.
Video Relay customers can access the service using a videophone by calling SWAVRS.TV to reach a video interpreter who will connect to Southwest Airlines. By providing video access, those whose native language is American Sign Language (ASL) can communicate with a video interpreter in ASL who then acts as the 'voice' to Customer Service representatives. Sprint Video Relay Service (VRS) is offered at no cost to deaf and hard-of-hearing customers who use a videophone or web camera with a computer to connect with a qualified Sprint video interpreter who interprets the call in English or Spanish.
"Offering video access, preferred by many of our deaf or hard-of-hearing customers, facilitates information exchange faster and in a more personal way than via the traditional telecommunications device for customers who are deaf," said Lance Morton, director of Automation Resources for Customer Support & Services for Southwest Airlines. "This is a good fit for Southwest Airlines - we're committed to providing the highest quality of Customer Service to each of our customers."
"Sprint offers many types of relay services including TTY, voice, voice-carry-over, speech- to-speech, internet-based relay, video relay, caption telephone services, conference captioning, and a variety of hearing aid compatible wireless devices to meet the unique communication needs of our customer base," said Mike Ellis, director of Relay Services at Sprint. "Sprint applauds Southwest Airlines for its commitment to all its customers, including those deaf and hard-of-hearing, to ensure they have equal access to Southwest Airlines travel services."
Sprint is the largest and most technologically advanced Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) provider in the nation, with more than 18 years experience in providing relay services to those who are deaf, hard-of-hearing, or deaf-blind, or have a speech disability. Sprint's experience in this field assures Sprint Relay users receive quality services regardless of the type of relay service they are using.
Customers can access a Southwest Airlines Customer Service agent by calling the Southwest Airlines TTY toll-free number: 800-533-1305 or go to SWAVRS.TV for video access. These numbers are also posted on the Southwest Airlines website at http://www.southwest.com/about_swa/phone_numbers.html.
ABOUT SPRINT NEXTEL
Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications services bringing the freedom of mobility to consumers, businesses and government users. Sprint Nextel is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including two wireless networks serving more than 49 million customers at the end of the first quarter of 2009; industry-leading mobile data services; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. For more information, visit www.sprint.com.
ABOUT SOUTHWEST AIRLINES
After nearly 38 years of service, Southwest Airlines continues to differentiate itself from other low fare carriers--offering a reliable product with exemplary Customer Service. Southwest Airlines is the most productive airline in the sky and offers customers a comfortable traveling experience. Southwest recently updated its gate areas and improved its boarding procedure to make flying southwest convenient and simple. And, best of all, Southwest Airlines is famous for No Hidden Fees! Southwest Airlines currently serves 65 cities in 33 states. Based in Dallas, Southwest currently operates more than 3,300 flights a day and has more than 35,000 Employees systemwide. For more information, visit: www.southwest.com.
Sukhi Sahni, 703-592-7779