Southwest Airlines has announced plans to keep middle seats open through at least September 30, reinforced its face mask policy and added another layer of confidence for travelers by requiring Customers to complete a Health Declaration prior to traveling.
The Southwest Promise outlines policies and protocols designed to further the comfort of Customers and Employees throughout their travel journeys. The carrier has bolstered communication of its round-the-clock cleaning efforts and distancing protocols through new videos that overview the travel journey of Southwest Customers through airports and onboard. Today, we are announcing additional enhancements to the Southwest Promise.
MIDDLE SEATS OPEN THROUGH AT LEAST SEPTEMBER 30
Employee and Customer Safety is, and always will be, the carrier’s top priority from check-in to deplaning the aircraft. Today, Southwest announced that middle seats will remain open through at least September 30, 2020, to provide Customers more personal space onboard and promote physical-distancing.
Customers may still pick their own seat, and Southwest will not block or direct seating. In the open seating environment, families or those traveling together may sit together.
SOUTHWEST HEALTH DECLARATION
Southwest is announcing an additional element of the Southwest Promise by introducing a Customer Health Declaration which must be acknowledged during online check-in beginning on June 16. Customers will now be required to acknowledge an awareness of the carrier’s face covering policy and confirm they do not have symptoms of COVID-19 and have not been diagnosed with, or exposed, to COVID-19 in the 14 days prior to travel. They will also have to confirm they do not have a fever when they travel. The declaration will appear during the online check-in process via the Southwest app, Southwest.com, SWABIZ.com, and the carrier’s mobile website.
“The introduction of the Customer Health Declaration is an additional layer offered by our Southwest Promise. As part of this commitment, Southwest is performing enhanced cleanings and giving special attention to our airport locations and aircraft to support Customer and Employee well-being. Now, we ask that our Customers join us in these efforts by acknowledging their personal wellness prior to flying with us,” said Tony Roach, Managing Director, Southwest Customer Experience. “When Customers are ready to fly again, the Southwest Team is ready to welcome them with our ongoing commitment to safety and comfort, paired with our low fares.”
In addition to the Customer Health Declaration, Customers will notice these Southwest Promise highlights the next time they fly:
- Boarding in groups of 10 to allow for distancing and queuing only on one side of boarding poles
- Airport signage and floor markers encouraging distance throughout gate areas
- Plexiglas® at ticketing and gate counters, and baggage service offices
- If Customers forget a face covering, a mask will be provided
- Hand sanitizer will be available in airport locations
REQUIREMENT FOR FACE COVERINGS OR MASKS
In May, Southwest began requiring Customers and Employees to wear face coverings or masks while in airports and onboard Southwest aircraft. During this pandemic, the airline asks that individuals comply with the policy out of respect for the well-being and comfort of fellow travelers and all those who are serving Southwest Customers. As part of this ongoing policy, Southwest will deny boarding to any Customer choosing not to wear a face covering or mask while traveling. Southwest’s Ground Operations Team and Flight Attendants will make announcements to remind Customers of this requirement throughout the travel journey and will have masks available, upon Customer request. Additionally, the carrier is notifying Customers of the policy in advance of travel dates and requiring acknowledgement of the policy via the new Customer Health Declaration Form.
Southwest Airlines aircraft photo gallery: