Southwest details advanced procedures through its “Southwest Promise”

Southwest Airlines today shared a promise to Employees and Customers that Safety is, and always will be, the carrier’s top priority from check-in to deplaning the aircraft. The Southwest Promise encompasses additional cleaning practices across the fleet and throughout the day; implements modified procedures to support distancing and contact-free interaction; and it equips Employees with additional protection and policies to bolster their ability to safely transport Southwest Customers and each other.

“We feel extreme gratitude for those who are serving on the frontlines of this pandemic. And from our own frontlines to our back offices, we share an immense pride in the service we’re providing to Southwest Customers for whom travel is essential right now,” Gary Kelly, Southwest Chairman and CEO said. “Our sense of responsibility cannot be understated. In the future, we are committed to reconnecting our Customers to people and places they love. So, as we warmly await their return, we add the Southwest Promise to a nearly 50-year commitment of unmatched Hospitality and an unwavering focus on Safety.”

The Southwest Promise includes elements designed to further the well-being of Customers and Employees at various points throughout their travel journeys:

Personal Protection and Wellness

  • Employee Face Masks or Coverings: Beginning May 3, Southwest is requiring Customer-facing Employees to wear face masks or coverings when interacting with travelers, especially when distancing recommendations cannot be met. Of course, Employees will continue to comply with all local requirements for wearing masks under various circumstances.
  • Customer Face Masks or Coverings and Sanitizer: Southwest encourages Customers to bring their own face mask or covering, along with hand sanitizer, while traveling. Additionally, Customers will be required to wear face coverings or a mask starting May 11. If a Customer forgets their mask, Southwest will have one available for them.
  • Fit to Fly: Above all, Customers who feel ill or are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 infection should remain home and cancel or change their trip utilizing the flexible policies Southwest affords all Customers.

Disinfection and Cleaning Around the Clock

  • In Airports: We are cleaning Southwest leased spaces in airports—ticket counters, gates, baggage claims—multiple times a day.
  • At Every Seat: Sanitizing wipes will be available onboard, upon request, for Customers who do not have their own and wish to touch up their personal space. The wipes will contain a solution proven safe and effective in aircraft settings.
  • Between Flights, Every Time: New procedures will introduce additional cleaning between flights to supplement the work of Flight Attendants who keep cabins tidy.
  • Overnight, Every Night: Teams will continue working nightly to clean all interior surfaces with broad-spectrum disinfectants and multi-purpose cleaners. They give additional attention to higher touchpoint areas from nose to tail, from the flight deck to galleys and lavatories, and at every tray table, armrest, seatbelt, window, air vent, and buttons.
  • In Hangars: In mid-April, Southwest began utilizing an electrostatic disinfectant and anti-microbial spray applied on every interior surface of the aircraft that kills viruses on contact and forms a protective shield for 30 days.
  • In the Air: Southwest will continue utilizing HEPA air filters to circulate air throughout the cabin on every flight while effectively introducing fresh air into the cabin at regular intervals. These HEPA air filters remove 99.97% of airborne particles—similar to technology found in hospitals.

Enhancing Distance

  • Limiting the Number of Passengers Onboard: Beginning May 2, to allow Customers to spread out in comfortable distances, the total number of passengers seated in the cabin will be reduced temporarily. Customers may still pick their own seat, and Southwest will not be blocking seats or directing seating. In our open seating environment, families or those traveling together may sit together.
  • Modified Boarding and Deplaning: Beginning May 2, smaller groups of 10 people at a time will be welcomed to board sequentially by boarding position. Flight Attendants also will provide guidance during deplaning to maintain distancing.
  • Suspended Inflight Beverage and Snack Service: Flight Attendants will continue to focus on every aspect of Safetywhile drink and snack service remains discontinued. Of course, Customers are welcome to bring snacks and non-alcoholic beverages to consume onboard.
  • Shields for Protection: Plexiglas® shields are being installed at ticket counters and gate podiums, and starting this month, we will be posting airport signage and floor markers to encourage distancing in gate areas.
  • Mobile Boarding Passes: Customers should download a mobile boarding pass before arriving at the airport via the Southwest mobile app to limit touchpoints.

Everything you need to know

We have added multiple layers of stringent cleaning and disinfecting:

  • An electrostatic disinfectant and anti-microbial spray is applied on every surface of the aircraft that kills viruses on contact and forms a protective shield for 30 days.
  • Sani-Cide EX3, a broad-spectrum disinfectant, will be used to clean commonly used areas (onboard lavatories, tray tables, armrests, seat belts, flight attendant call buttons, and overhead bin handles) before every flight. (Begins mid-May)
  • We also deep clean each plane from nose to tail for nearly 6-7 hours every night. (Began March 4)
  • Our gate areas, ticket counters, and baggage claim areas are cleaned multiple times a day.
  • Hand sanitizer will be available at the airport and wipes will be available onboard for Customers.
  • We use HEPA air filters onboard our aircraft, which remove 99.97% of airborne particles—similar to technology found in hospitals.
  • We have aligned these stringent cleaning policies and procedures with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

We have added new physical-distancing practices:

  • We are limiting the number of people onboard each flight to provide Customers more personal space so there will be no need for the middle seat to be occupied (currently through June). But if you’re traveling together, you can still sit together.
  • Our boarding process is changing. We’re boarding in groups of 10 and only on one side of our boarding poles to help our Customers spread out.

Everything you need to do

  • It is highly encouraged to bring your own hand sanitizer and mask, and to wear your mask while traveling. Face coverings or masks will be required for Customers starting May 11. If you forget your mask at home, one will be available for you.
  • Download your mobile boarding pass prior to arrival to limit the amount of exchanges you make with others.
  • Arrive at the airport earlier to allow for new check-in and security processes.
  • Maintain physical spacing at the airport and onboard.
  • We are not serving snacks or beverages inflight to limit personal contact. We recommend eating before you travel.
  • Do not travel if you are sick or have COVID-19 symptoms. We never charge a fee to change* or cancel a flight**, and you can rebook your travel for a later date.

Cleaning around the clock

  • An electrostatic disinfectant and anti-microbial spray is applied on every surface of the aircraft that kills viruses on contact and forms a protective shield for 30 days.
  • Sani-Cide EX3, a broad-spectrum disinfectant, will be used to clean commonly used areas (onboard lavatories, tray tables, armrests, seat belts, flight attendant call buttons, and overhead bin handles) before every flight. (Begins mid-May)
  • We also deep clean each plane from nose to tail for nearly 6-7 hours every night. (Began March 4)
  • We use HEPA air filters onboard our aircraft, which remove 99.97% of airborne particles—similar to technology found in hospitals.
  • Hand sanitizer will be available at the airport and wipes will be available onboard for Customers.
  • We’re cleaning the ticket counters, gates, and baggage claim areas multiple times a day.

Helping everyone keep their distance

  • Plexiglas® is being installed at ticketing and gate counters, and baggage service offices. (Complete by early May)
  • Boarding
    • Boarding in groups of 10 to allow for physical-distancing on only one side of the boarding poles.
    • Family boarding is not changing, but we will encourage families to respect the personal space of others during boarding.
  • We are limiting the number of people onboard each flight to provide Customers more personal space to spread out and there will be no need for the middle seat to be occupied. (Currently through June)
    • Customers can pick their seat—if you’re traveling together, you’re welcome to sit together.
    • Seats will not be blocked, but the first two to three and last two to three rows will be blocked, and we will not direct Customers where to sit.
  • We have discontinued inflight beverage and snack service until further notice to limit close interactions—we recommend eating before you travel.
  • We’re posting airport signage and floor markers to encourage physical-distancing in gate areas. (Starting early May)

Here’s where you come in

  • It is highly encouraged to bring your own hand sanitizer and mask, and to wear your mask while traveling. Face coverings or masks will be required for Customers starting May 11. If you forget your mask at home, one will be available for you.
  • Download your mobile boarding pass prior to arrival to limit the amount of exchanges you make with others. We recommend using the Southwest® Airlines app. You can download the app here.
  • Arrive at the airport earlier to allow for new check-in and security processes.
  • Hand sanitizer is available at the check-in kiosks, ticket counters, and gates. Wipes will be available for Customers onboard.
  • Maintain physical spacing at the airport and onboard.
  • We are not serving snacks or beverages inflight to limit personal contact. We recommend eating before you travel.
  • Please stay home and do not fly if you feel sick or are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. As always, you can change* or cancel** your flight without a fee.

Equipping Employees

  • Our Customer-facing Employees are required to wear masks.
  • We’re cleaning the ticket counters, gates, and baggage claim areas multiple times a day.

We’re onboard with the experts

We’re in contact with the following authorities and experts to align our policies and cleaning procedures with their guidance:

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • World Health Organization
  • Government officials
  • Our own medical professionals and infectious disease experts that we’ve retained to advise us during this pandemic

* Fare difference may apply. ** Failure to cancel a reservation at least 10 minutes prior to scheduled departure may result in forfeited travel funds.

Airline Liveries

Your Central Hub for the Latest News and Photos powered by AirlinersGallery.com Images. Airline Videos, Route Maps and Aircraft Slide Shows. Framable Prints and Posters.

Boeing Aircraft Photos

Your Central Hub for the Latest News and Photos powered by AirlinersGallery.com Images. Airline Videos, Route Maps and Aircraft Slide Shows. Framable Prints and Posters.

Airbus Aircraft Photos

Your Central Hub for the Latest News and Photos powered by AirlinersGallery.com Images. Airline Videos, Route Maps and Aircraft Slide Shows. Framable Prints and Posters.

Airliners Stock Images and Color Photos

Your Central Hub for the Latest News and Photos powered by AirlinersGallery.com Images. Airline Videos, Route Maps and Aircraft Slide Shows. Framable Prints and Posters.

Airliners Classics

Your Central Hub for the Latest News and Photos powered by AirlinersGallery.com Images. Airline Videos, Route Maps and Aircraft Slide Shows. Framable Prints and Posters.

Historic Airlines and Aircraft

Your Central Hub for the Latest News and Photos powered by AirlinersGallery.com Images. Airline Videos, Route Maps and Aircraft Slide Shows. Framable Prints and Posters.

Airline News Headlines

Airline News from around the World

Find an Airline

Airline Photo Galleries and Aircraft Slide Shows

%d bloggers like this: