The comfort and well-being of Southwest Customers and Employees remain our uncompromising priority during the COVID-19 pandemic. With this in mind, Southwest has implemented many new protocols and cleaning procedures over the past several months to support our Customers and Employees.
When you are ready to fly, and plan future travel, we want you to know—we are prepared to welcome you. The travel experience might feel a bit different, but know that you can expect the same Southwest service delivered with our familiar warmth and hospitality.
The Southwest Promise
When you travel with Southwest, we have your well-being in mind. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we've made changes to our operations and procedures to better support the well-being and comfort of our Employees and Customers—and we’ll continue to evaluate our policies and procedures as we learn more.
We’ve employed stringent cleaning and physical-distancing practices such as using electrostatic and anti-microbial spray treatments in the cabin, 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 all means when you are ready to travel on Southwest.com/Promise. Here are a few highlights:
Facial Coverings Now Required for Travel
Face coverings or masks are now required to be worn in the airport and while flying with us. If you forget your face covering at home, a mask will be available for you. For more information on our face-covering policy, visit Southwest.com/Promise. In addition to Customers wearing facial coverings, you can expect our Customer-facing Employees to wear face coverings, too.
Onboard Physical Distancing: Limiting Seats
Beginning on May 2, Southwest reduced the number of seats available on every flight by approximately one-third to allow for distancing within the aircraft cabin. We will continue operating with approximately one-third of our available seats left open on every flight through November 30, 2020. We hope this policy gives Southwest Customers and Employees confidence in the ability to social distance while flying with us.
Modified Onboard Service
As of May 22, Southwest began serving cans of water 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. As always, you are welcome to bring along your own snack and non-alcoholic beverages to enjoy while flying with us.
Freedom to Hope, to Plan, to Dream
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we understand Customers might be uncertain about their travel plans in the months ahead. Southwest offers flexible and Customer-friendly policies designed to provide confidence when your travel plans change.
Canceling Your Southwest Flight and Extension of Travel Funds
If you decide not to travel, as long as you cancel your flight at least 10 minutes before its scheduled departure, the funds used to pay for a nonrefundable ticket (Wanna Get Away® fares) are normally valid for one year from the date of purchase.
However, in recognition of the current travel environment, Travel Funds that are set to expire or funds that are created between March 1, 2020, and September 7, 2020, will have an expiration date of September 7, 2022. This change allows you more time to book your next trip with us utilizing Travel Funds.
Enhancements for our Valued Rapid Rewards® Members
For all Rapid Rewards® Members, we recognize that your normal flying behavior has been interrupted, limiting progress you may have been making toward qualification for A-List, A-List Preferred, and Companion Pass.
For that reason, we are giving all Rapid Rewards® Members a “boost” of 15,000 tier-qualifying points and 10 flight credits toward A-List and A-List Preferred status, and 25,000 Companion Pass qualifying points and 25 flight credits toward Companion Pass status.
We have added a new benefit for our valued Rapid Rewards® Members. Those Members who have travel funds that are set to expire or funds that are created between March 1, 2020, and September 7, 2020, will have the option to convert those travel funds into Rapid Rewards® points at the same rate you would be able to purchase a ticket with points today. We hope this provides our Members ultimate flexibility as Rapid Rewards® points never expire, never have cancel or change fees (fare difference may apply), and you can redeem your points for anyone you choose.
Extending Tier Status and Companion Pass Benefits
As an airline with Heart, we are extending the benefits earned by our current tier status Members and Companion Pass holders and the expiration date of select travel funds. In addition to this extension, we’re giving tier qualifying points and companion pass qualifying points to all Rapid Rewards® Members to say thank you for bearing with us during this difficult and uncharted time. We’re staying Southwest® Heart Strong for you and will be here with a warm welcome when you’re ready to travel again.
For Companion Pass holders, who earned Companion Pass benefits through December 31, 2020, and for A-List and A-List Preferred Members who earned A-List or A-List Preferred status through December 31, 2020, we are extending your current Companion Pass benefits and A-List or A-List Preferred status through June 30, 2021.
We’re giving you more time to enjoy your complimentary drink. Due to the temporary suspension of our inflight beverage service, any drink coupons set to expire throughout 2020 will now be accepted through December 31, 2020. Please keep your original coupon(s) to redeem onboard once inflight beverage service resumes. Cheers!
Southwest is aware that government mandates have resulted in restrictions on air travel due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Unfortunately, many of the restrictions will result in flight cancellations, potential quarantines upon arrival, and/or temperature checks upon landing, and we sincerely regret any inconvenience created by the travel disruptions. Visit Southwest.com/coronavirus to view the most up-to-date travel advisories.
Personal Safety Recommendations
We recommend the CDC’s website as a resource for ways that you can best protect yourself from the virus. Additionally, Customers are encouraged to wash their hands frequently and are welcome to bring hand sanitizers onboard our aircraft as a personal precaution.
Rest assured, Southwest will continue taking action to make our airport and aircraft cabin environments welcoming and reliable for you. Please check the Travel Policies Board in Community for ongoing discussion among Community Members and Community Champions.