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Southwest Promise

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic created many challenges for industries all over the world, including airlines. Like so many other companies, Southwest quickly pivoted in 2020 and adjusted parts of our business in order to respond to the pandemic.

Beginning in March 2020, we made multiple changes to our policies and operations to better support the comfort and peace of mind for our Employees and Customers. A commitment we referred to as the Southwest Promise.

As part of the Southwest Promise, we employed various procedures throughout the travel journey to respond to the pandemic, including cleaning and physical distancing practices such as using electrostatic and anti-microbial spray treatments in the cabin, physical distancing measures, modified boarding procedures, and face-covering requirements for Employees and Customers. The Southwest Team continues to evaluate its policies and procedures.

We hope all of our Customers feel that when they are ready to travel again, we’re ready to welcome them onboard with actions that support their well-being. Here is a closer look at the policies and procedures that we implemented over the course of the pandemic in 2020:

Cleaning around the clock

  • Both an electrostatic disinfectant and an anti-microbial spray applied on every interior surface of the aircraft, killing viruses on contact and forming an anti-microbial coating or shield for 30 days
  • Sani-Cide EX3, a broad-spectrum disinfectant, used to clean onboard lavatories and tray tables before every flight
  • Deep clean each aircraft interior from nose to tail for approximately six to seven labor hours every night
  • Every aircraft is equipped with a sophisticated air distribution system that introduces fresh, outdoor air and HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filtered air into the cabin while inflight, resulting in the exchange of cabin air every two to three minutes. We use HEPA filters onboard that remove 99.97%1414) Measuring 0.3 micrometers or greater in diameter passing through the filter. of airborne particles—similar to the technology found in hospitals
  • Hand sanitizer available at the check-in kiosks, ticket counters, and gates; wipes available for Customers onboard
  • We cleaned the ticket counters, gates, and baggage claim areas multiple times a day


Helping everyone keep their distance

  • We posted airport signage and floor markers to encourage physical distancing in gate areas
  • We boarded in smaller groups on only one side of the boarding stanchions to allow for physical distancing
  • Family boarding did not change, but we encouraged families to respect the personal space of others during boarding
  • Acrylic glass was installed at ticketing and gate counters and baggage service offices


Equipping Employees and Customers

  • Our Employees and Customers were required to wear face coverings that fit snugly over the face, cover the nose and mouth, and secure under the chin
  • We provided Passengers with sanitizing wipes


Consulting the experts

We continue to evaluate our policies and procedures based on public health guidance, scientific research, and advice from medical and aviation organizations, such as:

  • Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health
  • UT Southwestern Medical Center
  • Stanford University School of Medicine
  • U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • The International Air Transport Association (IATA)
  • The Boeing Company
  • U.S. Department of Defense’s U.S. Transportation Command
  • Medical professionals and infectious disease experts who we retained to advise us during the pandemic

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