Southwest Airlines Now Offers Uplift’s BNPL Services

Southwest Airlines

The buy now, pay later (BNPL) provider Uplift has formed a new partnership with Southwest Airlines, a move that the company says will allow customers to book flights to more than 100 destinations and pay for their trips over time.

“Uplift is seeing strong pent-up consumer demand for travel as COVID-19 case counts decline and vaccinations ramp up,” the BNPL services said in a news release on Friday (April 23). “Using Uplift as a buy now, pay later (BNPL) payment option gives Southwest® customers the freedom to book trips when they are ready, and spread the cost over a series of affordable monthly payments.”

When customers book their flights with Uplift and Southwest, they’ll see the total cost of their trip and a monthly payment amount. For example, a traveler could purchase a ticket and instead of paying $300 upfront, can get on the plane and agree to spread the cost of the trip over several monthly payments. Uplift noted that this scenario does not apply to all travelers, as terms depend on customer credit scores and other factors.

Southwest is the 16th airline to join forces with Uplift, which already had a relationship with Southwest Vacations. The two companies will further that connection thanks to the payment rails in place with the Universal Air Travel plan, a global payment solution owned by a number of major airlines.

Uplift said earlier this year that it was seeing an uptick in demand for BNPL options among people booking vacations. This comes in the wake of an abysmal year for the American travel industry, which experienced more than a trillion dollars in losses in 2020 thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Travel industry jobs declined from 16.7 million in 2019 to 5.6 million last year, making up 65 percent of all U.S. job losses during the outbreak.