Southwest Promise

Enhanced cleaning, physical-distancing measures, and equipped Employees

The Southwest® Promise from check-in to deplaning

When you travel with Southwest, know this: Our top priority has and always will be your Safety. We’ve employed stringent cleaning and Safety practices to support the health and wellness of our Employees and Customers. We’re using electrostatic and anti-microbial spray treatments, cleaning aircraft between each flight using a disinfectant with the same grade that’s used in hospitals and restaurants, implementing physical-distancing measures, limiting the number of Passengers onboard, modifying boarding procedures, and providing masks for Employees. Learn more about the Southwest Promise and what it means when you are ready to travel.

Everything you need to know

We have added multiple layers of stringent cleaning and disinfecting:

  • Both an electrostatic disinfectant and an anti-microbial spray are applied on every 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, 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:

  • Middle seats open through July 31 to provide Customers more personal space onboard. But if you’re traveling together, you can still sit together.
    • Customers can pick their seat—if you’re traveling together, you’re welcome to 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.

More information below

Everything you need to do

  • Face coverings are required at the airport and while traveling. Customers will be required to wear a face covering in order to board the plane beginning May 22. It is highly encouraged to bring your own hand sanitizer and face covering. If you forget your face covering at home, a mask will be available for you. For more information on our face covering policy, see our FAQ.
  • 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.
  • Starting May 22, we will begin serving cans of water with straws, and a snack mix on flights over 250 miles. For all other flights, snack and beverage service is temporarily suspended to limit personal contact.
  • 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.

More information below

Southwest employee disinfecting airplane cabin
Southwest Airlines cabin
Southwest flight attendant in cabin with mask
disinfectant spray

Cleaning around the clock

  • Both an electrostatic disinfectant and an anti-microbial spray are applied on every 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, 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.
social distance

Helping everyone keep their distance

  • We’re posting airport signage and floor markers to encourage physical-distancing in gate areas. (Starting early May)
  • 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.
  • Middle seats open through July 31 to provide Customers more personal space onboard.
    • Customers can pick their seat—if you’re traveling together, you’re welcome to sit together.
  • Starting May 22, we will begin serving cans of water with straws, and a snack mix on flights over 250 miles. Cups and ice will be available upon request. For all other flights, snack and beverage service is suspended until further notice to limit close interactions.
hand sanitizer

Here’s where you come in

  • Face coverings are required at the airport and while traveling. Customers will be required to wear a face covering in order to board the plane beginning May 22. It is highly encouraged to bring your own hand sanitizer and face covering. If you forget your face covering at home, a mask will be available for you. For more information on our face covering policy, see our FAQ.
  • 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.
  • Starting May 22, we will begin serving cans of water with straws, and a snack mix on flights over 250 miles. For all other flights, snack and beverage service is suspended until further notice to limit close interactions.
  • Please stay at home and do not travel if you are sick or are currently experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19.
    • The CDC recommends that, if you have recently had close contact with a person with COVID-19, you should quarantine (stay home) until 14 days after your last exposure. For that reason, we ask that you do not travel if you have had exposure within the past 14 days to a person with COVID-19.
    • Because many people with COVID-19 may be asymptomatic, Southwest Airlines requires all travelers to wear a face covering or mask over their nose and mouth, unless an exemption applies.
    • If you have questions, feel you cannot or should not travel, or need rebooking assistance, please contact a Southwest Airlines representative.
mask

Equipping Employees

  • Our Customer-facing Employees are required to wear masks or face coverings when in the presence of Customers.
  • We’re cleaning the ticket counters, gates, and baggage claim areas multiple times a day.
cleaning procedures and policies

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.

Coronavirus Travel Updates

Travel restrictions and how we’re taking care of you.

FAQs

  • Both an electrostatic disinfectant and an anti-microbial spray are applied on every 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, is used to clean commonly used areas (onboard lavatories, window shades, tray tables, armrests, seat belts, flight attendant call buttons, and overhead bin handles) before every flight.
  • A 4-6 person crew also deep cleans every plane, from nose to tail, for nearly 6-7 hours every night.
  • We are also providing Customers with cleaning wipes upon boarding.
  • These stringent cleaning policies and procedures are aligned with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • All of our aircraft are equipped with High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters, which remove 99.97% of airborne particles—similar to technology found in hospitals.
  • Our aircraft are designed with an air circulation system that mixes in fresh air from outside the plane with air inside the plane.

While cleaning procedures vary airport to airport, we are cleaning our gate areas, ticket counters, and baggage claim areas multiple times a day.

We understand it’s important to remove unnecessary touchpoints. That’s why we are encouraging everyone to maintain a physical distance wherever possible and limit hand-to-hand contact with others. Beginning May 11, we are also requiring that all Customers wear a protective mask or face covering in the airport and on the plane.

Here are a few ways you can limit contact:

  • Download the Southwest® App for a mobile boarding pass to avoid exchanging paper with others.
  • Hold up your credentials for verification versus passing it to an Employee.

At gate check, scan and keep your boarding pass instead of handing it to the Southwest Gate Agent.

Yes, Customers are required to wear a face covering in the airport and on the plane. Customers will be required to wear a face covering in order to board the plane beginning May 22. If you forget your face covering at home, a mask will be available for you.

Acceptable forms of face coverings

In accordance with the current CDC guidance, any well-secured cloth or mask that covers your nose and mouth will be accepted.

Exemptions to face coverings

  • Young children who may not be able to keep a face covering on.
  • Customers who have a disability or underlying medical condition that may prevent them from being able to wear a face covering.
  • Anyone who has trouble breathing, is incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the face covering without assistance.

When we expect Customers to wear face coverings

In accordance with the current CDC guidance, Customers will be required to wear a face covering over their nose and mouth at all times during their Southwest travel experience—while checking in, boarding, inflight, deplaning, retrieving baggage; and any other time they may engage with a Southwest Employee or another Customer. Customers will be required to wear a face covering in order to board the plane beginning May 22.

There may also be times when a Customer needs to temporarily remove their face covering, for instance, to eat or drink. However, we expect Customers to put their face covering back on as soon as possible.

Customers should also remove face coverings if a decompression event occurs and they are asked to use an oxygen mask, or in the event a Customer is supporting an onboard emergency, like performing CPR.

  • TSA is making a medical exception for hand sanitizer and will allow each passenger to pack up to 12 oz. in a carryon bag, but those Passengers will need to be screened separately.
  • Additionally, Southwest will provide hand sanitizer in the lobby, at gate podiums, and baggage claim areas. We will have cleaning wipes onboard upon request.
  • We encourage Customers to wash their hands frequently and use hand sanitizer and/or anti-bacterial wipes when traveling.
  • We have modified our boarding process to promote physical-distancing. We are now boarding in groups of 10 and only on one side of our boarding poles to help Customers spread out.
  • Starting in early May, you will begin to see airport signage and floor markers that encourage physical-distancing in the gate areas.
  • Family boarding is not changing, but we will encourage families to respect the personal space of others during boarding.
  • Middle seats open through July 31 to provide Customers more personal space onboard. Customers can pick their seat—if you’re traveling together, you’re welcome to sit together.
  • Once the plane has landed, you are encouraged to stay seated until your row is clear to move into the aisle.

Starting May 22, we will begin serving cans of water with straws, and a snack mix on flights over 250 miles. For all other flights, snack and beverage service is suspended until further notice to limit close interactions.

The TSA has made some adjustments to security screening touchpoints to support physical-distancing and are routinely cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces and security screening equipment. Learn more at tsa.gov/coronavirus.

We ask that you do not travel if you are sick or are currently experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19.

  • The CDC recommends that, if you have recently had close contact with a person with COVID-19, you should quarantine (stay home) until 14 days after your last exposure. For that reason, we ask that you do not travel if you have had exposure within the past 14 days to a person with COVID-19.
  • Because many people with COVID-19 may be asymptomatic, Southwest Airlines requires all travelers to wear a face covering or mask over their nose and mouth, unless an exemption applies.

If you’re unable to rebook your travel on Southwest.com, please call us at 1-800-I-FLY-SWA so we can help modify your reservation at no additional charge.

The Safety of our Employees, as well as Customers, is our top priority. We are implementing the following safeguards for our Teams:

  • We are providing masks to all Customer-facing Employees. They are required to wear masks or face coverings anytime while serving Customers or are unable to distance themselves from Customers. Employees will not be required to wear masks while they are on break in the galley or terminal, unless unable to physical distance or required by a local, state, or federal order.
  • Installing Plexiglas® barriers in the following areas: Ticket counters (bag drop and full-service locations), gate podiums, and baggage service offices.
  • The ticket counters, gates, and baggage claim areas are being cleaned multiple times a day.