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 well-being. We’ve employed stringent cleaning and physical-distancing practices to support the well-being 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.

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. (Began mid-May)
  • We deep clean each plane from nose to tail for nearly 6-7 hours every night. (Began March 4)
  • Every aircraft is equipped with a sophisticated air recirculation system that introduces fresh air into the cabin every second while inflight, resulting in a complete exchange of cabin air every two to three minutes. We use HEPA filters onboard that remove 99.97% of airborne particles*—similar to the technology found in hospitals.
  • Hand sanitizer is available at the check-in kiosks, ticket counters, and gates. Wipes will be available for Customers onboard.
  • 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. (Began early May)
  • Plexiglas® is being installed at ticketing and gate counters, and baggage service offices. (Completed 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 at least September 30 to provide Customers more personal space onboard.
    • Customers can pick their seat—if you’re traveling together, you’re welcome to sit together.
Southwest employee disinfecting airplane cabin
Southwest Airlines cabin
Southwest flight attendant in cabin with mask
hand sanitizer

Where you come in

  • Prior to travel, please check your temperature and confirm that you do not have a fever. Do not travel if you have a fever.
  • Please stay at home and do not travel if you have recently been diagnosed with or are currently experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.
    • If you’ve recently had close contact with someone who has COVID-19, the CDC recommends quarantining for 14 days in your home and avoiding air travel.
    • Because many people with COVID-19 may be asymptomatic, Southwest Airlines® requires all travelers wear a face covering 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. 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. (Began May 22)
  • Maintain physical spacing at the airport and onboard.
  • We are serving water and a snack mix on flights over 250 miles, when available. Straws are available on request. For all other flights, snack and beverage service is suspended until further notice to limit close interactions. (Began May 22)
mask

Equipping Employees

  • Our Customer-facing Employees are required to wear masks or face coverings.
  • 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

*Measuring 0.3 micrometers or greater in diameter passing through the filter.

What some of our Customers are saying

Follow us on Twitter at @Southwestair to read more Customer experiences.

@SouthwestAir I did so much research before flying and wanted to thank you for keeping the middle seat open and making me feel safe about flying. Everything you are doing is awesome! 🧡

— Twitter

Replying to @SouthwestAir You guys are the best! During the height of the chaos in March, SWA made it so easy for us to get back and forth from BOS. TY! And stay safe! 🧡

— Twitter

Thank you @Southwestair for ensuring middle seats remain empty, boarding only 10 at a time, and making sure every passenger has a face mask. I recognize you’re trying in the times of #covid19 and it shows. #LAbound

— Twitter

Nice one again @Southwestair Nailing the social distancing + flying vibe. Headed home on FL1554 OAK to SEA. @ Oakland International Airport

— Twitter

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. We are also requiring that all Customers wear a protective mask or face covering in the airport and on the plane. (Began May 11)

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 are required to wear a face covering in order to board the plane. 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 are 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 are required to wear a face covering in order to board the plane. (Began 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.
  • You will see airport signage and floor markers that encourage physical-distancing in the gate areas. (Began early May)
  • Family boarding is not changing, but we will encourage families to respect the personal space of others during boarding.
  • Middle seats open through at least September 30 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.

We are serving water and a snack mix on flights over 250 miles, when available. Straws are available on request. For all other flights, snack and beverage service is suspended until further notice to limit close interactions. (Began May 22)

As always, you’re welcome to bring your own non-alcoholic beverages onboard. However, FAA regulations prohibit passengers from drinking alcohol on the aircraft unless it is served by the air carrier.

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.

Please stay at home and do not travel if you have recently been diagnosed with or are currently experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.

  • If you’ve recently had close contact with someone who has COVID-19, the CDC recommends quarantining for 14 days in your home and avoiding air travel.
  • Because many people with COVID-19 may be asymptomatic, Southwest Airlines requires all travelers wear a face covering 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.

The well-being 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. Employees will not be required to wear masks while they are on break in the galley or terminal, unless they are unable to maintain a physical distance or required by a local, state, or federal order.
  • We have installed 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.