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Update on SeaWorld Partnership

‎01-08-2014 01:35 PM minnis
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‎01-08-2014 01:35 PM

Over the past few weeks we’ve observed a number of Customers and community members reach out to Southwest Airlines regarding our partnership with SeaWorld.  We want our Customers to know that we’ve heard your concerns and we do not take them lightly.  I felt it was necessary to share our position on the partnership and hopefully address any concerns. We have a longstanding relationship with SeaWorld that is based on travel and bringing families together. We are engaged with Sea World related to the recent concerns being raised.   We are in a listening and education mode with the goal of upholding our commitments as a good corporate citizen.  As a responsible member of the community, we support several organizations and events that are devoted to maintaining the natural world. At this time, our partnership with SeaWorld will continue.  If you’d like to know more about Southwest’s commitment to the triple bottom line of Performance, People, and Planet, please read our Southwest Airlines One Report at www.southwestonereport.com

106 Comments
melly
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"As a responsible member of the community, we support several organizations and events that are devoted to maintaining the natural world." And this somehow makes up for your partnership with SeaWorld?
Too bad. Delta Airlines, hear i come!
Sea World forcibly tears families of orcas apart. Supporting Sea World completely goes against your stated "bringing families together." Oh well. Southwest isn't the only airline, and I will be sure to choose a different carrier next time I fly.
cferg
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Very disappointing. I hope you really are in listening mode, and will re-evaluate your position. I too once had a longstanding relationship with Seaworld (season ticket holder), but now that I know more, I know better.
Seriously? "we support several organizations and events that are devoted to maintaining the natural world.” Seaworld is not devoted to maintaining anything natural for it's inmates. Captivity is as unnatural as it gets. As you work on bringing families together, think a moment about the families that Seaworld is tearing apart. Southwest has now formally been dropped from any future travel considerations. See Ya
I will be booking several roundtrips to Texas over the next few month and, until I read this, it was going to be with SouthWest.t However, now I will fly, for only the second time in my life, with another airline until this partnership is ended. I'm extremely disappointed that you have picked another company over customers, but more importantly, you've picked potential revenue over what is absolutely, morally correct.
I would never do business with anyone associated with Seaworld, this is very disappointing. Thank God there are still a lot of people that will do the right thing instead of choosing profit over principles and justice. Do some research, try to understand that you are sending a horrible message to the world. This just tells us that you support an industry of cruelty and slavery. You are off my list for traveling options. Hopefully you will reconsider and do what's right.
There are two sides to every story. Without SeaWorld (and others), the average American would have zero direct interaction with marine animals. This has a direct impact on our ability to sympathize with their plight. So you take away SeaWorld, and some number of years down the line, you get people who care a lot less about the animals you are concerned about today. Watch how kids become engaged with marine life after a visit to SeaWorld. They now care about dolphins, whales, turtles, etc. Don't be so short-sighted. I, for one, support SWA in their partnership, and I'm sure the silent majority do as well. At least those that think things through a bit.
SeaWorld does not preserve the natural world. If they did, would Morgan, a wild orca, still be held captive at Loro Parque? (Regardless of what SeaWorld says, their relationship with that park is well documented and, frankly, quite obvious.) I almost exclusively flew Southwest for flights to visit my friends and family around the country, but I will be reconsidering that move until Southwest is a company I can put my money behind. I hope you are seriously in a listening mode - Blackfish and the issues it has raised are only the beginning; independent scientists have been saying these things for years, and this film is only helping to raise public awareness. SeaWorld and parks like them will soon become a thing of the past - considering getting out in front on the right side of history. Because no one ever really makes up for being on the wrong side.
Your update is very disappointing. It's corporate-speak nonsense. Get on the right side of history and put some distance between yourselves and SeaWorld. You know it's the right thing to do. Until then, I won't fly Southwest.
There are many was to engage kids with marine life other than taking them to watch exploited animals perform. My love of marine animals didn't start because of watching them perform, it came from seeing footage of them in the wild, being awestruck by how they were naturally, not by what they could be taught to do. I grew up watching Free Willy and wanting all of the whales to be set free... oh, and since when is it okay to teach kids that exploitation and abuse is COMPLETELY OKAY if someone, somewhere, is learning from it?
I am disappointed in Southwest Airlines, I always thought that you were a forward looking company. As long as you continue this partnership with Sea Prison, neither I , my extended family, or friends will be flying with you. What Sea Prison does to Orcas and Dolphins is inhumane, immoral, and intolerable. Is that what you want to associate your company with ?
I have been a long time Southwest advocate as a consumer and for the past several years also as a travel consultant. In my younger years, I dreamed of being a Shamu trainer at Sea World and went to college a few years towards that goal. Life took turns which diverted my goal, but I was a HUGE Sea World fan. I went any chance I could to see the marine mammal shows. Fast forward to 2005 and 2006 when my travels took me to Kaikoura New Zealand and Vancouver Island. In Kaikoura, I swam with wild dolphins with Dolphin Encounter. No touching, riding, kissing the dolphins. Swim in the wild open water, talk to via your snorkel, interact with eyes and viewing only - best day of my life and began my realization that captive swim with dolphins programs are cruel and inhumane. Have you read Ric O'Barry's book Behind the Dolphin Smile? In 2006, I spent 4 days whale watching and kayaking around the Inside Passage with pods of orca in the wild. Again strictly observing - no swimming, touching, interfering with their feeding and transit in the area. Babies were tail slapping, adults were spy hopping and breaching. One day was a super pod day with several resident pods in the same area - incredible. I learned so much about these amazing animals and how terribly cruel and inhumane it is to have these giant beautiful animals in tiny tanks, eating dead fish, with unnatural encounters and forced tricks for human entertainment and corporate profit. I honestly believe that Southwest believes in treating people and the community better. Since 2006, I have never returned nor want to return to Sea World. Trade show events have been held at Shedd Aquarium in Chicago and Vancouver Aquarium. I can not help but cry seeing dolphins and beluga whales in tanks even at these aquariums which are far more conservation and rescue focused than Sea World. Please educate yourselves. See these animals in their natural environment with their real families. Read books, watch documentaries such as Lolita Slave to Entertainment, The Cove, and Blackfish. I am so fortunate that my life turned away from a career at Sea World, or I could easily have ended up like heroes such as Samantha Berg, Dean Gomersall, and more who used to work at Sea World and are trying to pay forward their education in the way animals are treated. With the personalities of Southwest staff, 2 bags free, and a wide selection of non stop flights between cities I visit, I am very sad to no longer want to do business with your air carrier or book clients on your airline and with your vacation packages due to this announcement that you support corporate profit of Sea World over the treatment of the animals. Majority of the animals were kidnapped from their families, against their will, to be slaves for corporate profits and human entertainment. This is not right. For social issues, your company appears liberal being LGBT friendly and supporting Gay Pride events. Be the bigger business by changing your position and being on the right side of history by speaking out for the rights of the captive animals who deserve to be free to live in the wild in nature with their families. I know your airline is capable of far better than your position in this blog post, but until I see a reverse on this course of action, I will not support your business.
I am so disappointed in Southwest choosing to stay connected with SeaWorld. Southwest has always been my favorite airline , the one we would use to fly to Florida to see the dolphins in the wild and to visit the natural beauty of Florida. No more, due too this lack of caring and compassion, I will never fly Southwest again. And I will be sure to share this with all of my foly and co workers and others who know right from wrong.
Matt, ever watch Animal Planet, or the Discovery Channel ? Sea Prison is far from the only place that people are exposed to marine mammals ? What about the wild at the beach or whale watching tours ? Some of my fondest memories from childhood are of seeing Orcas from the beach, seeing them in a fishbowl is a poor substitute and very sad. Your point is invalid , besides no one learns anything by watching a killer whale or a dolphin in captivity do a flip . Your argument sounds exactly like something that Sea Prison put out to the press, sounds logical, until you think about it.
As long as you support SeaWorld, I will no longer use your airline. I've flown Southwest in the past but I'm willing to pay more if necessary to avoid your airline. I hope you reconsider your commitment to planet as you state is important to company above.
I was disappointed to hear that you are going to continue your relationship and promotion of Sea World. I will not be flying with you anymore period until that changes. If you saw the movie Blackfish and still continue to promote SeaWorld your moral code does not exist. Vicki Kunkel
This is very sad news. I flew recently with Southwest and LOVED it. But this stance on Seaworld is going to change my mind. First off, you say that SW brings families together. Which families? Because the animals in captivity all were torn and ripped away from their families, seems very lame to say that it brings families together. Captivity has destroyed some wild populations, and seaworld continues these efforts but recently trying to import 18 wild caught belugas from Russia. Are you going to fly them back here? I hope not. Please watch blackfish, read Death at seaworld. This is not a good place to do business with. Captivity kills. Thank you.
I bought my last Southwest ticket. So long as you are supporting Sea World and the atrocities it commits against nature, you will not see me on your flights. I hope Southwest changes its mind.
Dear Southwest, As a resident of the Northeast, I have enjoyed using your airline to get me out of the cold and down to Florida. Since learning of your association with SeaWorld and now , even after the release of the film Blackfish, your continued support of SeaWorld, neither I or any of my family members will support your airline again. I will happily pay more to another airline knowing I have not supported an organization that promotes animal cruelty.
I work for an international maritime salvage company, when traveling in the US we often us Southwest. No longer. This will be lost profits in the tens of thousands of dollars from out company alone, I'm proud to say.
777rls
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I can only echo my fellow anti-captivity brothers and sisters because I feel the exactly same. SouthWest you're off my list until you come to your senses. SeaWorld is out for profits and that's the reality. There is nothing natural about ripping a baby away from its mothers side and forcing it to live and perform in a swimming pool. I guess since you're ok with that you'd also be okay with kidnapping a child and forcing him/her to work on the streets so long as people can observe and come together? Do see and hear how insane that sounds? Well, that's exactly what your company is doing. Like many posting, I also know your company is capable of the right thing. Please do it and end your connection to SeaWorld. Until that happens, I'm done w you.
I and my company will boycott Southwest Airlines until they end their support of Sea World.
At this time i will no longer be using your airline. #Blackfish
****** Congradulations and hat off to you guys.. Not listening to the all the " BIAS AND PROPAGAND HYPE " You guys are "" AWESOME !! " you will now have my entire family business.. You guys have taken a very big step to not be pushed around by these people and to keep your business as a profitlable business.. My sone fell in love with Sea World when he was 2 yrs old and is striving to become a Trainer.. He is doing wonderful in school to accomplish this.. We owe this to you as you guys had the best plan to get us there.. ****** THANK YOU!! ****
Well Southwest, as much as I dislike seaworld and wish that I had never watched that depressing film...I applaud you. At first I did not and almost made this account to scold you like so many others. But after i re-read your post, i must say my thoughts changed. the reality is, in life the best way to induct change is not by letting anger, hatred or vengeance fuel your thoughts and actions, for all it will bring is more hatred, harm, and anger. One must be calm, rational, and understanding with an mind set on educating and calm change, rather then harsh, brutal, hate filled shaming, which is what I slowly realized is what you are hoping to achieve. If in the future Seaworld shows no sign of fixing there ways and making things so much better for those sea creatures, i do hope you reconsider; but until then, DO continue to try and educate and help them change there ways.
We have the choice to accept to be part of something or to not be part of anything and just be free. I am very upset with southwest accepting this partnership with seaworld. So who gives these beautiful animals the decision to be locked up in a small tank and do tricks just to please us. This is not right, this every wrong!! I am aguest seaworld not only because of the #blackfish and because of #thecove! These animals should have the choice to be free. My friends and family and I will no long fly with Sourhwest. It's time to empty the tanks and let these beautiful animals be free and happy!!!
Thank you SWA for seeing through those who use propaganda to turn a profit while attempting to destroy SeaWorld. Of course being in the wild is better, but it is rather difficult to study these animals in the wild to the level that researchers at SeaWorld have been able to do. I suppose that all of those who do not support SeaWorld should also stop going to Disney since Animal Kingdom keeps lions in captivity in smaller areas than they are accustomed to. And for that matter, they probably should be protesting the federal government for keeping pandas in such tiny spaces as well. Since they choose to boycott companies associated with these "horrible" people, they need to stop watching ESPN, ABC, and all other channels under the Disney Corporation. They should also refuse to use public schools or roads since the feds are just as guilty as SeaWorld of exploiting animals to turn a profit...I know, there's no admission, but they aren't giving away the toys/drinks/etc in those gift shops. I on the other hand appreciate all SeaWorld has done and realize the people who are involved in the film have dubious motives for their propaganda. Thus, I will continue to support you, ABC, and all other zoos and parks around this country to work to help people better understand the world we live in. I have four flights I have to take between now and end of April and even though you are more expensive for two of them, I am now going to book all of them through you guys! You rock!
Very disappointed in you, Southwest. While I agree that listening and education are key to making any decision, in business or otherwise, you have had more than adequate time to listen and become educated on this topic. Your response is a PR cop-out, which frankly, is insulting to your loyal customers who expect more from you. "Travel and bringing families together" is a ridiculous reason to continue a partnership--there are plenty of more appropriate organizations that provide an actual benefit to nature or society for that matter, without the controversy that Seaworld brings to your brand. So, if you actually do believe in Seaworld, then defend them, we'd all be interested to hear your position! From here on I choose to take my (A-List) business elsewhere.
I have to admit that I have never flown Southwest Airlines, but I will certainly be flying with you in the future. I am thankful that you have not let the Multimillion dollar animal rights industry dictate to you what business partnership you will maintain. There are more than enough SeaWorld supporters that will support your partnership with them, and I will be one of them! Our family takes numerous trips each year, and we will be proud to send our business to Southwest moving forward.
Kids don't have to interact with dinosaurs to become enthusiastic about them, and they don't have to watch a circus to get excited about nature. Think things though a little bit.
Southwest must not have any compassion for the suffering of animals . If you think keeping orcas in tiny tanks, pumping them up daily on antibiotics, ulcer meds and feeding the gelatin because they can't stay hydrated on the frozen fish they are fed is not cruel and inhumane that I feel pity on you. These are not heathy animals, both emotionally and physically. I for one will never support SeaWorld or any company that supports it.
You are right. Without visiting Jurassic Park most people wouln't know anything about dinosaurs :/
This is very disappointing and my family will never fly with Southwest again(at least not while you are partners with a company that abuses it's animals). Anyone that thinks that SeaWorld is doing good for the animals, is a bloody moron. SeaWorld only spends 0.06% of it's revenue on "conservation". The CEO of SeaWorld lives in a home that is twice the size of Tillikum's prison cell and ironically, it is an ocean front property. Also, SeaWorld does nothing to "educate" the public about animals. SeaWorld tells the public whatever lies it needs to make their image better. Such as, orcas live longer in captivity than in the wild(LIE). They also say that the dorsal fin collapse happens commonly in the wild(LIE). 100% of dorsal fins collapse on orcas in captivity and only 1% collapse in the wild. It doesn't take a rocket scientist or a brain surgeon to realize that SeaWorld cares nothing about the animals and only about profits. Shame on you Southwest and shame on all you parents that are still supporting SeaWorld!!!
American Airlines here I come. I am very disappointed in your PR response! IT truly is a cop-out. “Travel and bringing families together” is a ridiculous reason to continue a partnership. This is more greed and profit subterfuge instead of directing a solution to the problem at hand: inhumane captive treatment of dolphins and whales. Putting a whale in a bathtub sized pool is hardly a humane approach to the treatment of these animals. It seems that Sea World and it's supporters akin marine animals to that of the care of dogs and cats! I agree that if you actually do believe in Seaworld, then defend your reasons rationally because right now, the movement against marine captivity is growing stronger by the day and you stand to LOSE MANY CUSTOMERS!
Thank you Southwest for not allowing yourself to be used or influenced by a propaganda group. You have always been my airline of choice and will continue to be. Love Seaworld and it's group of dedicated professional
I know a lot of people here don't know any better, but I have done countless hours of research on an animal that I am very passionate about. I do not need SeaWorld's help to become passionate about orcas and hopefully someday I will have the opportunity to see one in the wild. Until that day, I will boycott SeaWorld and encourage everyone I know to do the same. If you think SeaWorld is a scientific institution, you are mistaken. They are a theme park. Do they donate to conservation? Yes, they "generously" donate a total of 0.06% of their earnings annually. Unfortunately, their own animals do not really benefit. They have a shockingly small gene pool and almost all of their newborn calves are inbred. Kohana was bred to her uncle Keto twice, making their calves blood related to 21 of 26 SeaWorld orcas. Keto (now deceased) was permitted to impregnate his own mother, resulting in the first fully inbred calf at SeaWorld. Limiting a gene pool causes multiple psychological and physical problems. They spread untruths about the lifespan of these animals to make their own death rates more acceptable. They house resident orcas with transient orcas despite the differences in diet and social behavior, resulting in what they call "displacement" which is code for mild to fatal aggression. We cannot rely on a theme park for conservation OR education. I will continue to boycott SeaWorld and encourage other people to do the same. Southwest, please discontinue your partnership with SeaWorld. I will pay a thousand times more for a flight with an airline that doesn't participate in animal exploitation and abuse.
Are you serious? They are called books, and fossils, and museums. I really hope you are joking.
Thank you Southwest for your continuing support of Seaworld. I applaud your decision! Thank you for not caving to the amatuer marine "experts" unlike the uninformed artists who decided to boycott Seaworld based on a very biased "documentary". They do a ton of rescue, rehabilitation, and release in my area on the east coast and the west coast as well. This seems to be forgotten in the conversation. I plan to go to Seaworld this weekend for my birthday to show my support. Thanks again, my upcoming flight to LA will be booked on Southwest.
Southwest is being manipulated by corporate money follow the FOUR MIllion dollars in political lobbying and you will see that we have been manipulated by Sea World for many years. No More. Now is the time for Humanity to rise up against this outdated poor excuse for entertainment at the expense of beings we cannot comprehend.Follow the money at; http://influenceexplorer.com/organization/seaworld-parks-entertainment/0cc0ce4b70b24ebca2535ac1da0c79cb and the death records of the Orcas that did not survive the shows at : http://www.orcahome.de/orcadead.htm
Thank you sunflowershine for mentioning Morgan!!!!! I think her story is most definitely the saddest of all, and it almost made me cry to see her name. SHAME ON YOU SOUTHWEST!!! You guys have the opportunity to make a gigantic impact in the U.S. and you blow it off for your fear of losing a little profit. I hope that when you guys crunch your budget at the end of 2014 you realize you lost a ton by supporting $eaworld, and didn't see all that much profit from transporting a few enslaved animals. I have never flown on with another company, but I can guarantee you I will be giving Delta a try next time.
I am extremely disappointed in Southwest. Years ago I became a big fan of them when I found out the sister of a friend of mine from St. Louis, Linda A., was one of the executives at the company. I am now blown away to see how backwards they are and how they support slavery and abuse of Orcas. I am boycotting Southwest until I read differently. Their customer progressive, friendly, family oriented, approach is a corporate hoax. I urge you to boycott too.
I love how all of you say you're not going to fly Southwest anymore. Who are you kidding? Southwest is the best carrier around with the best fares. So I guess you are all rich and have unlimited funds to fly on another airline.
Bravo for not caving to the pressure of animals rights advocates who know nothing of the amazing job Sea World does. That would be the same as someone from the general public stepping in and telling you how to run your airline. You have been a longstanding partner with Sea World and I hope you continue to do so. You've gained a loyal flyer!
There is a social responsibility and a corporate responsibility to treat animals with dignity and respect. While SeaWorld does good, this does not excuse their confinement of orcas and dolphins for profit. It is not a healthy environment for these animals and they should be rehabilitated or released to a conservatory where they can live out their lives without the burden of show business and the confines of a pool. Please reconsider supporting the restructuring of how SeaWorld does business. Focus on the GOOD and do away with the bad.
With all due respect, Mr. Silvers, the only "amateur marine "experts"" are the Seaworld employees. If you saw Blackfish, then you know right from the horse's mouth from several former trainers at Seaworld, that they were not experts at all. They were given lies and misleading information to tell the public in terms of Orcas' life span in the wild vs. in captivity, of the bent dorsal fins and several other points. The REAL experts interviewed in the film dispute all of that and provide solid scientific basis for their findings. The Seaworld "experts" are nothing more than a pretty face who know how to swim and are good with animals. They are not expected to have any background in anything that matters to the animals. I have always loved SW Airlines and I DO hope they will reconsider their position. I know this is a huge corporate quagmire for them, but the writing is on the wall. There is only one way for this to go, and it ain't gonna be pretty for Seaworld. Their stock has dropped precipitously and shows no signs of recovery any time soon. They will have to substantially change their business plan or be at risk of bankruptcy within the coming years.
Matt, you've got a point. Seaworld over the years has raised awareness about orcas. However, I don't think that if you take away Seaworld at this point, "some number of years down the line, you get people who care a lot less about the animals you are concerned about today." I don't care any less about orangutans just because I've never seen one up close. Or pandas or grizzly bears or walruses. I don't have to see a real live one of any of these animals to appreciate that they are part of nature and shouldn't be brought into captivity for humans' amusement. And I can't buy the argument that we need to keep them in order to study them. We've studied them quite a bit already, and there are scientists out there still studying them in their own natural habitats in the wild. It never made sense to study them in captivity, anyway, as their behavior will be markedly different. I hope that SW Airlines reconsiders their position, as I don't think this will end well for Seaworld, and there's no reason SWA should go down with them.
Jon, where do I start. First off, this has NOTHING to do with the good Sea World does. That is not in question. If you have the guts to watch Blackfish, you will see what this is ALL about. Places like Sea World need to stop USING large intelligent animals for profit, PERIOD. These animals have been used for 50 plus years for entertainment. This unintentionally helped to raise awareness at first and we learned the little bit that we can from them in captivity. Now those days are over. Sea World and zoos and aquariums that use large beautiful, intelligent animals to make a profit are going to be a thing of the past unless they change their business model and evolve. I hope they do. I will then take a flight on Southwest and proudly go to Sea World in Orlando where i used to train animals for 7 years. Happy Birthday!
I don't know the exact nature of the relationship between Southwest and Seaworld, but I would imagine that there are some contractual obligations and that getting out of it abruptly could be costly. However, I strongly encourage Southwest to do just that. Not only because it is obviously the right thing to do, but also because the goodwill it would generate for the company among so many millions now who have seen Blackfish and been forever changed by its exposé of Seaworld, that I think people would be very supportive and come rushing back in a hurry to make Southwest their preferred airline. I sincerely hope that SWA reconsiders their relationship and does the right thing.
I applaud you. Thank you for so eloquently speaking the truth.