I am SO upset with Southwest Airlines!!

The email I just sent them complaining… Hope they REALLY are not becoming another American or United Airlines!

I just had the most disappointing experience with booking anything on SW ever. Yesterday, I called 1-800-435-9792 to cancel my hotel stay in San Diego over the weekend (confirmation number #777388792). I was told I had to call Southwest Vacations to cancel it. When I called yesterday they were closed already. This morning I spoke with them and they told me I had to talk to the hotels department, they also told me that often at Southwest they give the wrong phone to call in these matters.

Today I call 1-800-545-4489 to cancel it. It takes 30 minutes for the agent to find my reservation (she alluded that it was because it was under Manuel Hernandez Paredes, and I told her only Manuel Hernandez -only my 1st last name, however I also gave her my reservation number and that seemed to not help).

She told me I’d be charged a one night penalty, because it was the policy of the hotel. I complained about this being unfair when I have been attempting to contact Southwest to take care of this since 48 hours before checking into the hotel and have been given wrong numbers and the run-around, and now I am being made to pay for something I should not be responsible for.

I asked for her supervisor (Wendy) and she was respectful but not helpful at all. I explained to her that the hotel reservation confirmation email I received had no numbers to call to cancel the reservation so I could have not known the right number to call in the first place (it’s not outrageous that I called the main 1-800 Southwest number) and to that she replied that all the contact phone numbers are clearly listed on the web site.

That made me very upset! Because this is not even clear to Southwest employees that route people’s calls ROUTINELY to the wrong places (as told to me by the Southwest Vacations person). How is it supposed to be clear to me, as a customer?

I told her to escalate the issue. Southwest should pick up this penalty not me, if it is the hotel policy to cancel the reservation at this stage. If I get charged the final penalty and this does not get picked up by Southwest, I will use up the rest of my miles and make sure neither I nor anyone in my team of 6 does any business travel (and I won’t do any personal travel either) using Southwest from this point on.

I will too be sad to see that Southwest is becoming another United or American Airlines, airlines that I dread to fly with!


The movie “NO”, or why fear is a poor incentive for people to change habits

Tonight I watched for the second time the movie “NO” with Gael Garcia Bernal, which I highly recommend anyone that takes freedom for granted to watch:

But the lessons from the movie, where an ad executive helps create a controversial media campaign opposing military dictator Augusto Pinochet during the referendum on his presidency in 1988, go well beyond lessons that Venezuela should adopt in an effort to rid Venezuela of the impoverishing politics that have plagued it since Chavez and Chavez-influenced governments have been in power.

This week, I watched a new PSA created by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), titled “Diabetes Kills“. I am not embedding the video in this post because it portrays a message that I refuse to support, one that is disempowering and seeks to get people to pay attention by making them feel afraid. In response to this PSA, I shared the following comment with IDF and with a fellow diabetes advocacy blog that told me they were considering writing a piece about the PSA in question:

At the Diabetes Hands Foundation we have always seen IDF as a beacon that we’ve aligned our views and goals with, being as they are, a representative of people touched by diabetes worldwide. However, when I first saw this video I felt profoundly disappointed, as a patient and as a diabetes advocate. While I understand that they want to appeal to the general public and governments about the urgency of the diabetes epidemic, not only does the message in the video fail to do this (it is not directly targeted at those two targets -it is living in YouTube and propagating via social media): it conveys a very disempowering message, a message devoid of any kind of hope.

Diabetes does not kill: let’s please stop using this language! Complications from uncontrolled diabetes do (this is not my idea, but me amplifying what amounts to the gospel by Dr. Bill Polonsky). I invite our friends at IDF to reconsider this approach, thinking how people around the world feel when they are fist diagnosed with this condition: what if the message you first hear about it is that diabetes kills? Is that the first thing they want people to hear? Our anger about government inaction needs to be driven differently: painting diabetes rosey is far from what we are talking about, but fear-driving tactics don’t work either and can ultimately alienate a very important support platform IDF has built up over the years.

I hope IDF will listen to the voices of a number of advocates that have no raised their voices and asked them to reconsider this message: not only because it can been seen by people with diabetes, as well as the general public and governments that IDF is attempting to influence…

… but because it’s not true: