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Terrible service with Southwest Vacations

shenika8503
New Arrival
Hello,
 
I am writing about my horrendous vacation that I experienced with Southwest Vacations. This email is the first time that I have ever felt a need to leave a review or even make a comment/complaint about any issue I've ever had due to poor customer service and accountability.
 
My vacation started on Friday, June 19, 2020. We flew to Ft. Lauderdale for my step son's military graduation. Once we arrived we were on the way to our hotel. Once we reached The Diplomat Resort, we noticed several barricades and orange cones everywhere blocking the entrance. I immediately knew something was wrong. At that time, I called the hotel to see what was going on. I was told by a representative that the hotel was closed and would not reopen until June 27, 2020. I was floored at this point. I asked the representative how long they had been closed and she said since the interruption of COVID-19 ensuing they had been closed since late April/early May. WOW! The representative stated I needed to contact my travel agent or whoever I originally booked the package with.
 
I booked my vacation with Southwest vacation on May 26. If the hotel was already closed, why was I allowed to even book this hotel. 
 
We proceeded to call Southwest vacations at the number listed on the site and our reservation documents 1-800-243-8372. We stayed on hold a total of 4 hours and talked to more than a dozen representatives. The call times were ridiculous ranging from 77 to 83 minutes and each time we reached a representative if was either the wrong dept. or when we were transferred to the During Travel department the call was lost and we had to start the process again. I was so distraught at this point because we had now missed my stepson graduation which was the basis of the entire trip. This was so heartbreaking for my husband and I because we had been waiting several weeks to see him and embrace this moment in his life. 
 
By now we finally reached a representative by the name of Nancy in the During travel department, we finally thought we had some hope but the nightmare was far from over. Nancy was so rude and unapologetic, she didn't sense the urgency in our tone or even seem to care that we were completely stranded. She STRESSED this was no fault of Southwest vacations and that I should take this up with the hotel since they had not been removed from your inventory. She went on to say that I should have called the hotel prior to travel and checked everything out myself. I was livid. I explained to Nancy that Southwest is a billion-dollar industry and a staple in the airline community and felt that it was Southwest responsibility to do due diligence and check each hotel in their database to be aware of closure or any other incidentals that have occurred. I proceeded to inform her that I did check the website for any closures in Florida and none applied to this resort only Disney and Universal Studios.
 
I was crying and at this point very upset, Nancy even stated that she would have to disconnect the call if I didn't get it together, the nerve of this woman. I told her she was very uncompassionate and she didn't seem to empathize with our situation. She simply didn't care.
 
The nightmare continued.
 
I tried to calm down and get my nerves together before I had a meltdown on this woman. I even asked to speak with her supervisor but she never allowed me to speak with someone else. 
 
At this point my husband called Southwest vacations to speak with another representative and was greeted with another 83 minute wait time. 
 
Nancy asked, "What hotels did I see nearby so that she could try to us something?" At this time, I thought it would get better but NO, it got WORSE.
 
I mentioned the Eden Roc Hotel, NOBU Hotel, Fontainebleu Hotel, or the Loews. She stated she had no inventory for the first three. When she mentioned that she did have something for the Loews, I became somewhat relieved only to find out it would be a standard room and nothing like the room we had reserved at The Diplomat Resort. I asked her, "Why was the room the standard and not the suite type like we had at The Diplomat." She stated, "That the funds were not there, meaning we only paid about $350 for The Diplomat and the Loews rooms were much higher." I told her that of course they would be higher at any resort when booking the day of, and furthermore, we booked The Diplomat in advance and were able to secure a great deal/promotion that they were running as well as Southwest vacations. I told her that Southwest should be more accommodating considering everything we had been through in the last four hours. She still did not bulge, she wouldn't even ask to speak with a supervisor to get clearance to get this done. She even offered to put us at another hotel (The Gates) which is not a beach-front property like we previously booked. After I declined this offer, she was adamant that we get a refund and fly home. I asked her how long it would be if we got a refund and she stated 60 to 90 days. WOW again! We didn't have extra money to book a new hotel considering our funds were tied into the current vacation package we had currently paid for. She simply didn't care for our predicament. Once I placed her on a brief hold, she mentioned something to a colleague that she was ready to get off the phone because she had a SKYPE session with her siblings. At this point, I had heard even enough and just hung up the phone.
 
Nancy needs to be trained immediately to deal with critical issues, especially showing empathy to others misplaced.
 
By now, my husband had got another representative that was more willing to accommodate us. She was nice and got us booked at the Loews and stayed on the phone with us the entire time. KUDOS to her; however, she was not able to give us the same type of room that we previously booked with The Diplomat. 
 
I was completely over this entire trip at this point. 
 
Southwest vacations I am completely outdone with the way this entire ordeal was handled. I just knew you guys were a reputable company when I booked with you guys. I even had a previous trip booked with American Airlines but canceled and went with your company. This was our first time flying and booking a vacation with Southwest and if you can't do something to better accommodate my husband and I it will be our last. Please respond abruptly to this email or I will be urged to leave this comment/review with other traveling sites and the BBB.
 
Regards, 
Shenika Thomas
 
 
7 REPLIES 7

Re: Terrible service with Southwest Vacations

TheMiddleSeat
Top Contributor

Unfortunately Southwest Vacations is a completely separate country from Southwest Airlines. Here is some additional information, but sounds like you have already been in contact with Southwest Vacations.

 

https://community.southwest.com/t5/Knowledge-Base/How-do-I-contact-Southwest-Vacations/ta-p/108332

 

--TheMiddleSeat

Re: Terrible service with Southwest Vacations

dfwskier
Top Contributor

As the Middleseat said, Southwest Vacations is not Southwest airlines.

 

It is a separate company that provides the same service under other names for United, American, Celta and probably other airlines..

 

If you check yelp, you'll see that the fim has dozens (maybe hundreds) of 1 star reviews.

 

If I were you, i'd do several things

 

1) Send the firm a registered letter demanding a refund.

 

2) Leave love letter reviews in every place you can find.

 

3) Contact the BBB about the situation. Maybe they can help.

 

Sorry this happened to you, but given the number of 1 str reviews, it has happened to lots of other people, too.

Re: Terrible service with Southwest Vacations

SWCompanion84
New Arrival

I couldn't agree more with this original post. My fiance and I are trying to adjust our honeymoon Southwest Vacation and have experienced nothing but NIGHTMARES with the Southwest Vacation reps - from being spoke to abrasively, given false and conflicting information about what we can/cannot book and have had to pay additional out of pocket expenses to try and adjust our trip. 

 

I sent a very direct email to the Southwest Vacation customer service address highlighting what we are trying to accomplish and to get a straight answer - we received a response this AM that IGNORES what we had asked for confirmation on. 

 

We are avid Southwest patrons, met on a Southwest flight four years ago and have ALWAYS had a pleasant experience with Southwest Air customer service reps, ground and flight crew. We were excited to celebrate earning the Companion Pass this year and are just appalled at the lack of LUV we've experienced w/ Southwest Vacations - I WOULD NOT recommend this service (or lack of) to anyone.  I'm surprised Southwest Air affiliates themselves with an organization that checks the box of providing less than mediocre service. 

 

I'm remaining hopeful that we'll be able to rectify our honeymoon plans and will remain a Southwest Air advocate but the Southwest Vacations experience thus far has been tedious, expensive and frustrating experience. 

Re: Terrible service with Southwest Vacations

phylarp
New Arrival

My experience with Southwest Vacations has also been awful. It is so, so easy to make a reservation on-line via their website...they quickly accept your funds & email you a confirmation. However, it is impossible to make a change to a reservation! You cannot make any changes on-line, nor is their chat ever available. So the only option is to call via phone, wait through automation and very long, on-hold waits and then, if you're lucky, you'll get a rep who can actually speak comprehensible English. I made an on-line reservation on May 28th and after trying daily to change that reservation I finally gave-up and cancelled the whole trip on June 4th. Three different times I found an alternate deal on their website only to have the reps quote anywhere between $300-$1,000 MORE than what was on their own site! Soooo wrong. Unfortunately, the trip was to be a surprise Birthday gift to a 79-year-old friend but splitting the "travel funds" did away with that surprise. Now my friend and I are trying to figure out where her "1/2" of the so-called travel funds might be. I paid over $1,600 for a package and now have a "airfare travel fund" of about $500. Even after my long email to Southwest Vacations yesterday, there's been no response (same with my previous emails). Apparently, they just don't give a crap about customer service or the anguish they create (and likely less about us seniors). They seem to care only about money, period. I also learned that I should not expect the approx. $600 hotel refund for 90 days. Really? They'll take your money immediately but then hold it for 90 days? Outrageous! Frankly, I think  Southwest Vacations is basically a crime all the way around!

Re: Terrible service with Southwest Vacations

TheMiddleSeat
Top Contributor

@phylarp Keep it mind travel funds will only be for the airfare portion of the trip. You can use these travel funds within a year of your original purchase to book flights on southwest.com Travel must be completed before the expiration date. 

Hotels and anything else would be refunded based on Southwest Vacations refund policy. Hopefully that means back to your credit card, but you'll need to check with them to be sure.

 

--TheMiddleSeat

 

Terrible service with Southwest Vacations

SWFlyer007
Rising Star

If you would have just taken a few moments to research you would know that this isn't SWA, but they do promote the company that does the bookings.  I wish I had time to tell you about the 100 or more great flights and service I have had with SWA

Re: Terrible service with Southwest Vacations

jksobonya
Rising Star

This thread is amazing. 😂

 

I am actually fairly impressed that you tried to go on vacation in June of 2020 during the height of the pandemic. I originally had a Vegas trip scheduled for June of 2020, but I moved it out to August because nothing was open in June. Very little was open in August, but I went anyway. It was a ghost town, and I actually enjoyed the lack of people. 

 

I'm also impressed that your son had an in person graduation in June of 2020. Nearly all graduations in 2020 were virtual or non-existent. Maybe the military is different.

 

How any hotels were operating at all at the time you went is remarkable in an of itself. As I recall, if hotels were open at all in the summer of 2020, they *might* have been operating at 25% capacity. But this was Florida, so maybe they were a little more open than most, but still. 

 

When she mentioned that she did have something for the Loews, I became somewhat relieved only to find out it would be a standard room and nothing like the room we had reserved at The Diplomat Resort.

 

You seriously expected to be given a suite at a different hotel? In June of 2020? Am I reading this correctly? 🤣 The entitlement some people have and expect ... I tell you ... if it were me, I would have been happy with any room at all, considering the circumstances and the struggles the entire hotel / hospitality industry was going through last summer.

 

 All of that aside, Southwest Vacations is a third party service not directly affiliated with Southwest themselves. I stopped using them years ago when I realized that, by booking through them, you do not get hotel points / credits as you normally would when you book with a hotel directly - particularly Vegas and Atlantic City hotels through MGM and Caesars. I want my tier credits for my stay, and you won't get them if you book through Southwest Vacations, so I've stopped using them. I think the last time I booked a trip was in 2013. I never had any problems with them, but then again, I wasn't trying to go somewhere in the middle of a global pandemic.

 

--Jessica