As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads, the world around us is changing rapidly. And while many things are changing, our commitment to your safety and providing travel flexibility has not changed.
First, and most importantly, your safety and that of our other Customers and Employees is our top priority. Please make sure you’re following CDC guidelines when traveling, and as always, please do not travel if you’re not feeling well.
Also, I fully appreciate the uncertainty, anxiety, and questions some of you may have regarding how your travel might be impacted. Please know we are working around the clock to keep our commitment to your safety and providing travel flexibility.
Aircraft Environment and Cleanliness
There has never before been a higher focus on the cleanliness of our aircraft, and we are making sweeping changes across the board to keep our planes cleaner than ever.
In my previous note to you, I mentioned our enhanced cleaning procedures, which you can learn about here. Everything we’re doing meets or exceeds recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
We equip each of our aircraft with a HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filter, which filters out recirculated air onboard each plane to remove airborne particles. The air in the cabin is fully exchanged with fresh air 20-30 times per hour. These same HEPA filters are also used in hospitals to provide patients with clean air.
Effective March 18, we have also temporarily adjusted our inflight food and beverage service to limit Customer and Flight Attendant interactions. Our Flight Attendants will now hand out unopened cans of water and a pre-packaged snack on flights greater than 250 miles.
Additional Flexibility if You Need to Adjust Your Travel Plans
If you decide not to travel, as long as you cancel your flight before its departure, the funds used to pay for a nonrefundable ticket are normally valid for one year from the date of purchase. However, in recognition of the current travel environment, we are extending the expiration date of some travel funds:
Customers’ funds that have expired or will expire between March 1-May 31, 2020, will now expire June 30, 2021
Any travel funds created because of a flight cancellation between March 1-May 31, 2020, will have an expiration date of June 30, 2021
It will take our technology teams a few weeks to make these changes, and once you’re ready to use these funds, simply reference the PNR number on the reservation and use it as you would use “store credit” at most retail establishments.
Also, any travel planned through the end of April can be changed online for up to 60 days from the original date of travel without paying any difference in fare if you are traveling between the same origin and destination.
A-List Preferred, A-List and Companion Pass Qualification
I know many of our A-List Preferred, A-List, and Companion Pass Members—or those working to qualify for these benefits—have questions about how the current environment may impact their ability to qualify for status this year. While I don’t have an answer for you today, we are closely monitoring this and will follow up at the appropriate time on how we will address this situation.
Upcoming Schedule Revisions
We are aggressively managing our business so that we can continue to serve you and deliver the Hospitality you expect from Southwest Airlines into the future. If one of your upcoming flights is impacted, you will receive a notification from us making you aware of the change. Wait times to speak to a representative in our call centers are likely to be very high, but you can always make modifications online.