Southwest Life

Are consumers tired of gratuitous gratuities?

Tipping is a hot topic again, thanks to a controversial ballot measure raising the minimum wage for restaurant workers in Washington, D.C., and recent social-media campaigns, such as the...

DATE: Sept. 16, 2018 | COLUMN: The Travel Troubleshooter

Don’t panic: A guide to handling pre-trip anxiety

If you feel a little jittery in the moments before you leave for the airport, you might be suffering from pre-trip anxiety. It’s an increasingly common malaise in a world of uncertainty and...

DATE: Sept. 9, 2018 | COLUMN: The Travel Troubleshooter

Is it time for warning labels on plane tickets?

Airline tickets are more complicated and confusing than ever. Do they also need warning labels? Maybe. A provision in the Senate version of the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act...

DATE: Sept. 1, 2018 | COLUMN: The Travel Troubleshooter

Put down that lamp! What you can – and can’t – take from your hotel room

When Lynn Culver stays at a hotel, she helps herself to the soaps and shampoos in her room. If housekeeping replaces the items, she takes the new ones, too. Culver, a retired attorney from...

DATE: Aug. 25, 2018 | COLUMN: The Travel Troubleshooter

Don’t make these car rental mistakes on your next vacation

Before you click the “book” button on your next car rental, consider what happened to Elizabeth Thorp on a recent trip from her home in Washington to Denver. When Thorp’s airline canceled her...

DATE: Aug. 19, 2018 | COLUMN: The Travel Troubleshooter

Added restrictions on flights may surprise you

Before Debbie Winsett boarded a recent Delta Air Lines flight from Minneapolis to Washington, a flight attendant added a surprise restriction to her ticket. “While waiting to board, an agent...

DATE: Aug. 13, 2018 | COLUMN: The Travel Troubleshooter

How to protect your devices from the rigors of the road

I wish I’d known just how fragile my technology was when I visited St. George, Utah, during a one-week tour of the state’s national parks. In a grocery store parking lot, my son accidentally...

DATE: Aug. 5, 2018 | COLUMN: The Travel Troubleshooter

The mystery of the missing hotel trash cans

What happened to all the trash cans? They’re disappearing from some hotel rooms lately. Guests such as Jon Martin want to know why. “There seem to be fewer and fewer trash cans in rooms,” says...

DATE: July 29, 2018 | COLUMN: The Travel Troubleshooter

For people with diabetes, air travel can present challenges

Before she boarded her flight from Santiago, Chile, to Buenos Aires, Argentina, the unthinkable happened to Barbara Rowan: a security screener tried to confiscate her needles. Rowan, who is a...

DATE: July 22, 2018 | COLUMN: The Travel Troubleshooter

How to keep a big group from smothering your trip

The majority rule – the one that says the needs of a group outweigh those of an individual – has always been a travel industry standard. When there’s a convention or a wedding, regular guests...

DATE: July 15, 2018 | COLUMN: The Travel Troubleshooter

Why are you tuning out preflight safety announcements?

Admit it, you don’t pay attention to those preflight safety announcements anymore. I don’t, either. “Now, we request your full attention as the flight attendants demonstrate the safety features of...

DATE: July 8, 2018 | COLUMN: The Travel Troubleshooter

Got a complaint about the travel industry? Take it to the top

If you’re thinking of taking your travel complaint to the top, here’s a little good news: someone’s listening. When I started advocating for consumers more than 20 years ago, executive email...

DATE: July 1, 2018 | COLUMN: The Travel Troubleshooter