Today, we announced Southwest Airlines is working with the Stanford University School of Medicine to review our multi-layered approach to supporting the well-being of Customers and Employees during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The Southwest Promise encompasses the changes Southwest has made to our around-the-clock operations, cleaning procedures, and physical-distancing measures, and representatives from Stanford Medicine will now offer medical advice and protocol recommendations to guide the our ongoing and future efforts during the pandemic.
As part of the collaboration, Southwest will have access to an advisory council comprised of Stanford Medicine’s physician-scientists with knowledge and expertise in infectious diseases, prevention and testing protocols, and the latest medical research about COVID-19. This advisory council will provide insights to support Southwest’s commitment to keeping Safety as an uncompromising priority.
The Southwest Promise: A Multi-Layered Approach to Cleaning and Comfort
Stanford Medicine will serve as a trusted advisor, in addition to Southwest’s current relationship with UT Southwestern Medical Center, to review elements of The Southwest Promise, which are implemented to create a comfortable travel experience and support the well-being of Employees and Customers. The commitment to cleaning and distancing measures encompasses the following elements:
Prior to Travel:
Face Coverings Required: All Southwest Customers and Employees over the age of two are required to wear a covering over their mouth and nose throughout the travel journey. If a Customer does not have a face covering, Southwest will have face masks available at the airport and onboard our aircraft.
Customer Health Declaration: Customers are required to acknowledge an awareness of our 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 also are required to confirm they do not have a fever when they travel. The declaration appears during the online check-in process via the Southwest app, Southwest.com, the carrier's mobile website, SWABIZ.com, and airport kiosks.
At the Airports:
Airport Cleaning: Southwest is cleaning ticket counters, gates, kiosks, and baggage claim areas multiple times a day. Additionally, Southwest is utilizing electrostatic sprayers to apply a disinfectant to airport areas at least once per week.
Physical Distancing in Airports: Southwest is boarding in smaller groups of 10 to allow for distancing and queuing only on one side of boarding poles in the gate areas. Additionally, new airport signage and floor markers highlight and encourage proper distances throughout the boarding areas. We have also has installed Plexiglas® at ticketing and gate counters and baggage service offices to help everyone keep their distance during in-person transactions and interactions between Employees and Customers.
Hand Hygiene: Hand sanitizer is available at check-in kiosks, ticket counters, and gates.
Onboard Southwest Aircraft:
HEPA Filters: Every aircraft is equipped with a sophisticated air distribution system that introduces fresh, outdoor air and HEPA-filtered air into the cabin while inflight, resulting in an 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 (*measuring 0.3 micrometers or greater in diameter passing through the filter).
Middle Seats Open: Southwest has committed to keeping the equivalent of all middle seats open through Nov. 30 to allow room for physical distancing onboard every flight.
Enhanced Overnight Aircraft Cleaning: Southwest deep cleans each plane from nose to tail for nearly six to seven labor hours every night, including all high-touch surfaces such as seat belt buckles, tray tables, air vents, arm rests, galleys, and lavatories.
Electrostatic Aircraft Spraying: Both an electrostatic disinfectant and an anti-microbial spray are applied on every surface of the aircraft, killing viruses on contact and, then, forming an anti-microbial coating, or shield, for 30 days.
Cleaning Before Every Flight: Sani-Cide EX3, a broad-spectrum disinfectant, is used to clean onboard lavatories and tray tables before every flight. Additionally, sanitizing wipes are available for Customers onboard, upon request.