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Case Study: Connected Padlocks Driving Efficiency at Southwest Airlines

Southwest luggage vault app photo

Facilities Management Case Study

The Southwest Airlines maintenance and operations team at Denver International Airport, one of the largest airports in the world, plays an integral role in the airline’s logistics and customer service, overseeing runway traffic, luggage handling and facility maintenance.

As part of its ongoing effort to achieve operational excellence, the operations team identified managing access to luggage tugs as an opportunity for improvement. The team sought a solution to ensure these tugs were always available when and where employees needed them, so they could quickly transfer luggage from planes to baggage reclaim areas.

Southwest Airlines chose Master Lock Bluetooth® Padlocks and the Master Lock Vault Enterprise platform to manage tug access. Now, the operations team can affix the padlocks to tugs to immobilize them, remotely grant or revoke employee access to the locks and view which employee accessed the tugs and when, increasing accountability.

Goals & Analysis

Streamline management of baggage tug access

The Southwest Airlines operations team had a primary goal of streamlining how it manages which employees can access tugs and when. To improve operational efficiency, it was critical for Southwest to transition from mechanical padlocks to an easy-to-use electronic solution that allowed administrators to efficiently control which employees can access their assigned luggage tugs.


So Southwest Airlines could effectively manage its many locks that secure its many luggage tugs, The Master Lock Company worked with the operations team to introduce Master Lock Vault Enterprise at Denver International Airport.

Keyless Security – Previously, Southwest had utilized mechanical padlocks to immobilize luggage tugs and ensure employees couldn’t access tugs when not authorized. By introducing Master Lock Vault Enterprise, which integrates Bluetooth-enabled padlocks, a mobile app and newly developed web platform, Southwest was able to eliminate the hassle of physical key management. Without physical keys that can be lost or copied, Southwest is now able to gain peace of mind knowing their luggage tugs are secured and available when employees need them.

Efficient Access Management – With Master Lock Vault Enterprise’s web interface, administrators can easily grant or revoke employee access to luggage tugs based on time, date or group, ensuring tugs are available when and where employees need them. Employees on the ground are then able to access their assigned luggage cart via the mobile app or temporary code.

Increased accountability – With access to robust data and audit trails, administrators can see which employees accessed tugs and when, increasing accountability. Additionally, locations are recorded every time a phone interacts with a lock providing Southwest’s administrators with a useful tool to track luggage tugs.


After implementing Master Lock Vault Enterprise, the Southwest Airlines maintenance and operations team simplified operations and improved efficiency:

  • The easy-to-use web platform enables administrators to efficiently manage access to luggage vehicles, improving day-to-day operations
  • On average, employees rated their overall satisfaction with Master Lock Bluetooth® Padlocks nearly 4/5 stars (3.95)


“Southwest Airlines is known for providing superior customer service and our daily operations play a key role in our success. In a busy, time-driven environment like an airport, it’s critical that we can effectively and efficiently manage access to our tugs so they’re available when and where employees need them. Master Lock Vault Enterprise checks those boxes and I’d recommend the solution to any operations team looking for a better way to manage access to the many locks within their facility.”

– Pat Brumm, Manager, Southwest Airlines at Denver International Airport

For more information visit

  1. Master Lock Vault Enterprise
  2. Master Lock: Bluetooth padlocks

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