Skip to main content

Southwest Airlines Community

Southwest Continues Implementing Enhancements in Response to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Employee
Employee
Blog Updated July 22, 2020, 12:00 pm CT.

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 until at least the end of September. 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.

 

You can visit Southwest.com/RRCoronavirusUpdates for additional details, but here are additional highlights:

 

Rapid Rewards® Members’ Travel Funds

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.

 

Drink Coupons

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!

 

Destinations Experiencing Travel Disruptions & Travel Restrictions

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.

75 Comments
New Arrival

You and Southwest Airlines say the following:

<<<

Aircraft Cleaning

Southwest aircraft are regularly maintained in accordance with an established program aimed at providing a clean and inviting cabin experience. In addition to aircraft being tidied up between flights during the day, each aircraft receives a thorough review each night that includes cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting that meets or exceeds recommendations from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO). And, as of March 4, we’ve enhanced our overnight cleaning efforts in response to the current environment. 

>>>

But at this time especially with the current Coronavirus scare, your information is not very assuring that when I take my trip next week leaving Orlando at 9:25 pm, the seats, head rests, tables, arm rests, seat belts will be clean of any germs.  You should state specifically what is done to “tidy up” between flights.  Tidying up sounds like the flight attendants just do a walk thru and pick up any trash or anything left behind.  The seats, tables, seat belts, arm rests and overhead handles should be sanitized some way so that we know we will be safe of getting any bacteria or virus of any kind making us feel safe to fly.  

You also say that since March 4 you have enhanced your overnight cleaning.  Well, that’s great for the first flight the next day.  But that doesn’t help at all the rest of the flights during the day especially the last flight of the day which is what mine is.

 

For the life of me I don’t understand why Southwest can’t help us feel safe taking a flight with y’all by sanitizing in-between each flight.  I would think that there is a sprayer, like what we see on TV that workers are using in their businesses, that wouldn’t take much time at all if each flight attendant would have one to use.  Or maybe have people from the airport who work for Southwest come in and quickly use a sprayer to sanitize everything.  Because of the huge risk and knowledge that this Coronavirus is spreading everyone and every business has to do appropriate actions to ensure the safety of their customers.  If not this virus will spread so much that all airlines will have to stop and you will lose a ton of money.  So this is not just in the best interest of your customers but also in the best interest for your company.

 

Thanks

New Arrival

I have flown flights first in the morning and pulled down tray tables to find them sticky with soda and wine. This has occurred more than once. I do not have faith in your tidiness between flights. You should be having cleaners come on and disinfecting. The flight crews cannot be expected to clean an aircraft. Speaking of flight crew, I do not feel comfortable with them taking the drinks from the galley and handling the cups so often. Especially with their bare hands. When are you going to update your precautions with those of other airlines? Please place health before the dollar! I expect more from Southwest!

New Arrival

Southwest, thanks for all your help dealing with this global issue.  As a frequent traveler I appreciate your focus and insight here.  One idea that keeps popping in my mind, in order to stop the spread of germs on flights, is that it may be time to re-think the snacks you hand out.  Opening a package and putting snacks in your mouth after touching a variety of surfaces in the boarding process just seems to perpetuate the spread of germs.  Would it make sense to supply other types of snacks that aren't finger food or provide no snacks?  Just wanted to put the idea out there - safe travels everyone!

New Arrival

If I have travel funds that are set to expire soon, but I am not comfortable booking a new ticket yet, will Southwest extend the expiration date?

Please contact a representative at 1-800-I-Fly-SWA to discuss options.

 

I did call 1-800-I-Fly-SWA and I was told since my tickets expire 4/4/20, if I do not use by that date then I can call back "after" tickets expire and let the rep know that I am calling because I have expired tickets and they will transfer me to Funds Management Team and they "might" allow me to extend my un used travel funds for up to 6 months for an additional $100.

I do not see what good that will do since we are being told that a vaccine for this corona virus is not expected for at least 18 months. 

I was going to San Francisco with my son , who has a motility disorder and will be being seen at Stanford Clinic. He has a very weak immune system and I am paralyzed and I have a very weak respiratory system. Neither of us should be traveling until there is a vaccine available and/or this virus is under control.

I want a refund. I do not think it is fare that we lose our money. I originally purchased these tickets before this virus even existed.

I am very unhappy with the customer service that I got when I called.

 

New Arrival

All the health organizations are telling us to stay 6 feet away from others regarding the coronavirus?  How is Southwest dealing with this.  Tonight on the news they showed people waiting to get onboard in a line next to each other.  I'm in the 65 and older group

New Arrival

Hi, related to your comment/complaint, I too was wondering how SWA will manage credits for those of us who already have travel credit for a cancelled trip (pre-coronavirus outbreak) that needs to be used within one year of booking initial flights. COVID-19 is likely going to hinder our ability/desire to travel before our use-by date. I'm hopeful that SWA will consider amending the policy to allow those of us with travel credit a use-by extension. I've sent this request to SWA through their comments email form and hope others will consider doing so as, though I appreciate very much the flexibility of buying our air travel with SWA, the announcement this morning (March 9, 2020) does not offer any change to their usual travel policy and, in light of COVID-19, I think they should put in place extensions for those of us in this situation. Thanks! 

New Arrival

Thank you for the update on the procedure clean the plane. I read over Delta procedures and they provide a fogging between flights. Is fogging between flights a procedure that will help decrease the COVID-19 virus on the equipment in the plane? 

New Arrival

Although it has been said that all aircraft are being cleaned at night, does this mean at every city? Whether it’s a base or outstation? Or is it aircraft at bases only? Are the improved cleaning methods being applied at every city that Southwest services?

New Arrival

Has Southwest considered adding hand-sanitizer to aircraft?  Similar to the dispensers you see in hospital, retail, and restaurants, these dispensers could be mounted near the entry to the aircraft, and/or near the lavatories.  This would go a long way to reduce the germs that are on surfaces.  

 

Alternative, a "wet nap" style sanitizing napkin could be offered during snack & beverage service. 

 

Thanks!

Brian

Employee
Employee

We understand your concerns regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The Safety of our Customers and Employees is of the utmost importance, and we are working diligently to ensure that our aircraft are as clean as possible. To answer your specific question and/or concern, please contact us at one of our Customer Service channels here. Thank you!

 

New Arrival

If we are healthy can we still wear a N95 mask while boarding and on the plane? 

Rising Star

@ulsteryt I wore an N95 mask on an international carrier last week and nobody cared.

New Arrival

It was an excellent idea to provide this information and care that Southwest is doing. Very detailed and provides reassurance.

 

The one item I would suggest and hope your cleaners are doing is changing constantly the cleaning cloth/towel/wipes they are using.

 

I have noted a few post talking about passengers who were sneezing, coughing and etc. Not sure what Southwest can do, it would be up to the Airport/Gov't to have medical screeners for domestic flights and it may come to that. But, passengers should remember people have allergies and in parts of the country there is early blooming which allows allergies to pick up, people will have watery eyes/sneezing/stuffy with allergies.

 

 

New Arrival

PLEASE, Re Covid19:

Sanitize (not just “tidy up”) all surfaces (including seatback pockets) between EVERY flight (not just overnight);

remove magazines, safety cards, etc (or replace with new before every flight);

use ultraviolet light disinfecting;

change HEPA filters frequently;

provide wipes and masks and hand sanitizer to passengers, as needed;

scan temperatures of boarding passengers;

proactively deny boarding to passengers who are coughing or show other active symptoms or high temperature;

extend travel funds policy to two years from purchase (at least for passengers who bought tickets far in advance).

Thank you.

New Arrival

While cleaning the Southwest (SW) aircraft routinely is a great gesture and I applaud SW for that but I would like to offer a recommendation.

 

I would suggest that a small wrapped package of "Damp Lysol Dual Action Wipes" that offers two actions in one: One side has the traditional texture of a cleaning wipe; the other contains rough fibers for a gentle abrasive effect. It’s used for disinfecting any surface type [i.e., leather covers, stainless steel, laminate, granite, enamel, and plastic.] Reminiscent of the classic clean scent throughout the aircraft. This would give each passenger 1 or 2 wipes to wipe down their seat and armrest.  For those who don’t wish to do so that's fine, but SW has done their Due Diligent and for others it gives a sense of safe-haven that they have lessen the effects of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Southwest becomes the Hero because they are showing the world [i.e., other airline carriers and passengers] that they care about their passengers.  

 

In the business world we call that "Due Care".  Southwest will become the Trendsetter, because every airline will follow your lead.  

New Arrival

I have an upcoming flight that I technically could cancel, however my travel funds (that cover the cost of 3 round trip tickets) expire mid-April and I was told by a representative that they are not extending anyone's travel fund expiration dates (even for elderly passengers or those with underlying medical conditions). Yes, Southwest does have a very flexible flight change policy (which is a reason I choose to fly with them); however, they are being inconsiderate toward passengers whose travel funds are expiring and do not feel comfortable/safe traveling. I understand that they are following the travel alerts provided by the CDC, but I do think it would be beneficial if they could extend passengers' travel funds that expire in 2020 (where the flights were originally purchased in 2019, prior to the first case of COVID-19).

 

I also noticed that they took down the below FAQ:

If I have travel funds that are set to expire soon, but I am not comfortable booking a new ticket yet, will Southwest extend the expiration date?

Please contact a representative at 1-800-I-Fly-SWA to discuss options.

New Arrival

We are retired, in our mid- 60's and have a flight scheduled in May.  The coronavirus continues to ramp up.  It is appreciated that SWA has increased their disinfecting, however, between flights should include a fogging and not just "tidying up".  At our age we are concerned about flying due to the virus and may cancel our flights.  We originally booked Aug 23, 2019 (long before the virus) and if we cancel, the travel funds would have to be used by the expiration date of Aug 23, 2020.  With the slope of the virus outbreak increasing, we would not plan casual air travel for quite a while.  I would ask, as may others have, that there is more flexibility in extending the travel funds end date, for a full year past expiration. It's a win-win:  SWA keeps customers, loses no initial money and the customers feel reassured that their hard earned money is not lost.  FYI - SWA is our preferred airline because of the friendly service and flexibility.  Thank you in advance.

New Arrival

Update on March 15. The date on the SWA coronavirus page is still March 11. They have not changed the cleaning protocol. The original post on this thread does not include any helpful updates in regard to the refund/travel funds policy. They DID cancel two legs of my upcoming trip (which I am still going to cancel) . These legs went from Baltimore to Austin and Austin to Las Vegas, undoubtedly due to the SXSW cancellation. I still cannot find information about the travel funds policy for nonrefundable tickets when SWA cancels a flight, so I am waiting for clarity on that before I actually cancel my entire trip. They say to cancel online because call volume is so high. I hope they can handle that. Please all, a reminder that the very valid and heartfelt posts in this community are not monitored by SWA. And there is no way for us to reply to each other. This page gives you links and and address so you can contact SWA directly. https://www.southwest.com/contact-us/contact-us.html Everyone who posts here should copy the post and send it to SWA. As if the sheer volume might have any impact. As for the poster who said she loves SWA because she never has to worry about losing money, I hope this means she always buys refundable tickets. Otherwise, she had better check out the so-called refund policy.  I was flying SWA this trip to Las Vegas because they have a policy for large passengers, even though with no direct flights, this more than doubled the travel time. Plus it was way more expensive than JetBlue. Last year, on JetBlue, I lost fully one-third of my seat AND half of the underseat area in front of me to a large passenger because JetBlue has no such policy and still allows non-large passengers to be discriminated against in this way. After sitting in a constrained position for several hours, my only alternative, as a woman over 70 who needs to be able to move, was to stand for the last few hours. JB thought a $75 credit was sufficient to ease the pain. Off-topic, but just a tip for passengers looking for an alternative carrier.  

Update as of March 14. I decided not to travel - a trip comprising four airports, two planes, and multiple populations is just not worth the risk, and Southwest still does not do any sanitizing between flights. The most recent coronavirus info page is from March 11. I have now relearned the fact that the use-by clock on travel funds for nonrefundable tickets begins on the day you book, not the day you cancel. And, based on others' posts, if you purchased a flight with travel funds the deadline for those funds remains the same. If you cancel that flight and the deadline date has passed, your funds are gone. In light of this national emergency, I am so disappointed that Southwest has not shown an ounce of flexibility so far. Knowing that, I am waiting until the last minute to cancel my flights, in case SWA cancels them itself, although I have not found the travel funds policy for this case. They are cancelling flights: my itinerary already changed. It was to be Islip, Baltimore, Austin, Las Vegas. The Austin legs are now gone, doubtless because SXSW was cancelled. This has been an eye-opening experience. I have to find this post I saw which said SWA does not look at the messages in this thread - it is viewed only by community members. The very heart-felt posts hear are speaking to the choir. You need to search the site to find the link for feedback or comments - not this blog. Good luck all and keep healthy. 

Original post: I am due to fly next week. As a senior who does not want to be stupid, I need to decide whether or not to cancel. With direct flights to my destination no longer available from Islip, I have one change and an additional stop (with a several-hour layover) outgoing and one change on the return. This means my possible exposure is greatly increased. Posters above have already suggested numerous valid improvements to the sanitizing regimen, so I will not repeat. I want to add my name to the large number of travelers who urge SWA to extend or remove the deadline for using travel funds resulting from cancellations. There is no reason why SWA should, potentially, add over $800 of my funds to their coffers should I cancel and then be unable to rebook within a year. My nonrefundable ticket is costing me more than it would have cost on any other airline going to my destination, yet I chose SWA. I have always valued their flexible change/cancellation policy, but in these extenuating circumstances, I resent their capitalizing on travelers who have nonrefundable tickets or funds about to expire but for their own safety cannot safely travel at this time. I could be in that group a year from now. I hope that, for the sake of goodwill and customer loyalty, they will revise the refund policy. I have no doubt that many customers are about to forfeit travel funds because they cannot travel at this time, and that is simply not fair. SWA, please listen to your customers.   

New Arrival

I have flights booked using travel funds that will expire soon. I am not ready to cancel my flights just yet, but if I do, will I be able to get an extension on my expiration date? I saw that someone else stated that requesting and being granted an extension would require an additional fee. In light of the current health crisis, common sense and good customer service would suggest that extending travel funds expiration, without penalty ($$$), would be in the best interest of the traveling public, and the airline!

New Arrival

As a former FDA Investigator who has worked many disease outbreaks I concur with other SW customers who have valid reservations about taking a flight on SW or any other airline since the outbreak of the pandemic of COVID-19. I also agree that "tidying up" a plane between flights is more like cleaning up your kid's room after a sleepover. There are commercial foggers and misters which could be run through the entire plane with virucide BEFORE boarding (after the first flight of the day) and AFTER deplaning each flight of passengers. This would take ONLY MINUTES to perform and with a virucide mist or fog you will cover EVERY type of surface in the plane KILLING ANY potential viruses including COVID-19 and the FLU. PLEASE have your relevant staff look at this suggestion. Thank You 

New Arrival

To be fair, SW should give travel voucher for cancelled ticket during this period without restriction on who uses the ticket in future travel given travel must be completed within one year of ticket purchase. I will be cancelling my ticket for a trip on Monday and hate the fact that I will be given a travel fund that must be used only by me within one year or lose it.

New Arrival

Hello,  Thank you for all the information;  we are in Belize and scheduled to return this Sunday (3/15/2020).  Will you notify us if the flight schedule changes and we have to return early?

 

thank you,

 

Max

New Arrival

We should agree that the highest quality customer service and satisfaction pays off in the long run.  How is Southwest adjusting its cancellation policies due to the Coronavirus Emergency?   Travel funds have expiration dates, then Southwest charges a Hidden Fee. For Real.  to extend the expiration date.  Other airlines are waiving fees completing and in some circumstances refunding the 'non-cancellable' fares.  Southwest Airlines has an opportunity to improve and really showcase the highest quality Customer Service as its mission statement claims.   Please be flexible by extending travel funds expiration dates without charging a fee or even better provide the Highest Quality Customer Service by refunding funds to original form of payment in some circumstances.

New Arrival

What about people that had credits due to expire April 1st?  We were planning on using it this month, however due to the health concerns we will not be traveling.  Extensions should be made to those that have credits expiring in the next few weeks.

New Arrival

Our flights had to be cancelled due to government mandates concerning COVID-19. These mandates forced the cancellation of the event we were traveling to. We had absolutely no choice in the matter. Southwest should absolutely adjust their "travel funds" expiration date. The airlines will be getting assistance from the government for their losses, Southwest needs to pass this on to customers. Southwest is THE only airline not accommodating customers during this political pandemic. And if the media would stop hyping this so much we wouldn't even be in this situation. This is all way overblown.

New Arrival

I have had a similar experience to others on this site. I booked a flight in September and used travel funds that expire in April. The funds used totalled $266 for two people. I paid an extra $340 for the flights on top of the travel funds plus $100 in early bird fees. Total funds ~$700. The event I was traveling to was cancelled due to local restrictions. When I called SWA to cancel, they informed me that the $100 EB fees are completely gone. Then, the not only do the original travel fund expire, but the NEW funds I paid in September when I booked the flight will also expire in April! So, I am out $700+. Lucky me though, if I call back the day after the funds expire, I can pay $100 per person to have the funds extended SIX months. So I get ~$400 of my $700 that I have to use within 6 months. Who is to say this will be over then? SWA just lost a loyal customer.

New Arrival

I’m canceling my family trip to Disney World  because the event/place I was traveling is no longer happening/open. Nothing to do with concerns with traveling.   Does Southwest understand the world is in crisis/emergency? It’s not business as usual for your customers, therefore it shouldn’t be business as usual for Southwest, IF YOU CARE.

 

Please address your HIDDEN FEE, if your customers can’t use the travel funds by the expiration date. Please waive the fee to extend travel funds’ expiration date and extend for a year or no expiration date at all. This will show your customers that you CARE about us. Thanks!

New Arrival

Shame on you, Southwest Airlines! I am a family medicine physician, on the frontlines of this pandemic. I like millions of Americans had travel plans scheduled during this pandemic. I had plan to take my family to Disneyland, but Disneyland closed their doors understanding the social implications and health and safety concerns. Today I called Southwest to request to cancel our flight. I like my fellow neighbors are practicing social distancing (when I am not working). This pandemic may affect 40-70% of our population and could extend into December. I was told by the representative that because of the type of ticket I purchased I would be given credit to use prior to January 23, 2021. Again this pandemic may still be underway in January,  or we could be dealing with the aftermath. The only other option I was given was to: 1) travel into one of the highest effective areas in the country with my family, 2) suffer a loss of close to $4K or 3) loss $800 by extending out the date we use our credit. The customer service representative mocked by stating that I though Southwest was contributing to the spread of the pandemic, but if they continue to practice as they are, then they most definitely are contributing to it. I challenge you: Join your other corporate allies and consider the greater good!! Until then, shame on you!

New Arrival

Worst airline ever. Considering every other airline is refunding flights because of the COVID-19, you would think SouthWest would too. But NOPE, they are giving you future credit to use before the date you PURCHASED the tickets. Oh, and if you bought early bird? Sh*t out of luck, you are beat out of money. I will NEVER fly this airline again after this experience. Don't waste your money or time. You will be sitting on hold for over an hour to speak to a representative who so clearly wants nothing to do with the conversation. 

New Arrival

Last May I bought 2 tickets on Southwest for a vacation, and am currently scheduled to fly in April.  Obviously, life is not normal at the moment.  Did you hear about the NATIONAL EMERGENCY?  Who isn’t nervous about flying shoulder to shoulder with strangers?  Not to mention, when you arrive at your vacation destination, what’s open? What activities are even available? This is an extraordinary situation, and I think Southwest should extend a grace period for funds that are about to expire.  If I were to go ahead and travel, I would be a nervous wreck wondering if my vacation was a huge mistake.  Not worth it, and a vacation that stresses you out kind of defeats the purpose.  So I am staying home, as so many experts have advised.  Looks like I will be out $1,000.  Southwest, PLEASE extend the travel fund expirations.  It is not reasonable to expect the public to fly around just for the heck of it during this crisis.  

 

New Arrival

First time ever really having to cancel only to be told that you do not honor the early check in as part of the "credit". Why? If that's the standard case, why should I ever do early check in again just in case?

New Arrival

While SW currently does not offer face masks for passengers since the CDC does not recommend them being worn my persons "who are well," I think it would be a comforting gesture to do so. I have heard that the virus can be transmitted by those who are showing no physical symptoms, and I suppose as a passenger I could be seated near someone who may be infected, may be experiencing no obvious symptoms and who at the time may be feeling well. Offering the face masks would be much welcomed act of concern

New Arrival

I'm gonna echo what a lot of people are saying so I'll cut to the point. If we purchased a ticket on credit that is about to expire and we don't want to or can't fly you should extend the travel credit- Free of Charge. 

 

 

New Arrival

Southwest has a great policy in place for refunds / no change fees - EXCEPT for group fares.  For a typical time, the policies related to group rates and the non-refundable policy are understandable.  

 

But these are not typical times.

 

Schools are closing for two weeks by order of the Governor.  Professional sports teams are cancelling events.  National attractions are closing down.  People are getting sick.  The lock downs are to get the spread of the virus under control.

 

In abiding with the state guidelines, in support of the National Emergency, in support of our District Administrators - our school group is no longer travelling next week.  In our destination, there are documented cases of the virus.  The CDC has issued guidelines that certain people avoid nonessential air travel - which would apply to some of the adults travelling with our students.

 

This is a pandemic.  And we are all being asked to take action to minimize the impact of the virus.  

 

The group travel conditions are very clear when groups make the travel arrangements- however - these are not typical times.  When requesting a refund or a credit or something - the answer was simply no.  Nothing.  Sorry groups do not qualify. Where did that great customer service and focus on the customer go?

 

I would have expected that Southwest would be better.   If a refund is out of the question, at least offer the same options as individual travellers have which would be a credit for future use.

 

I am a frequent traveller and for all future flights, my first choice is no longer Southwest.  The refund policy that is so prominent in your ads does not include a disclaimer or asterisk to note your exceptions.  And of all times - this would have been the time for you to step up and do the right thing.

 

New Arrival

Southwest is the best. Hate to have to cancel my Florida vacation, but glad I never have to worry about losing my money. Thank you for making it easy to reschedule. From beginning to end every employee I've dealt with over the years has been personable and compassionate.  Having epilepsy, I am very grateful for the extra care I get when flying. I never even compare prices with other airlines because I feel so much safer with SWA. 

 

Thank you for all that is being done to keep us safe. Hoping all employees stay healthy and safe as well during this trying time. Looking forward to my next trip with SWA. 

✌️😊💗

New Arrival

Thanks for this thorough post. I do hope Southwest will reconsider in its cancellation policy flight credits need to be used for the ticketed person. I purchased two tickets -one for my 86 year old dad - to see my daughter's senior thesis performance which likely will be canceled. I appreciate the ability to cancel without penalty, but my dad is not likely to fly anywhere else. He went to all her performances from age 4 until she went halfway across the country to university nearly 4 years ago, so this was a special trip and that opportunity will not come again. I will, however, likely need to fly my daughter home soon and would hope to be able to apply at least his credit, if not my own also, to that unplanned flight. We are waiting right now to see what happens, what her university will do (they've gone online but she's getting a BFA in dance), before changing any plans. I am hoping by then Southwest will revisit this part of its already generous cancellation policy. These are extreme and unusual circumstances. And note that dad is confident in flying, there just may not be anything to fly to.

New Arrival

I carry cleaning antibacterial wipes everywhere I go. I use them on flights. I clean everything thoroughly especially tray table, seat belt, hand rests and anything else I can possibly clean. Then I do it again. When I first started this a few years back I would get some looks. However, no one looks now and in fact asked me if I can give them a wipe. Of course I carry two or three packs as other places like restaurants. Hand sanitizer is very useful for  different situations. Don't count on any airline to clean as well as you can. Also if you are flying and have a tv in the back of the seat to look at movies clean the cord to the remote, the remote itself and the screen. 

New Arrival

I, like many of those commenting, am particularly frustrated with Southwest's policy regarding Early Bird Checkin when cancelling flights due to the Covid-19 virus.

 

It's already a disappointment not to just receive a straight-up refund vs. credit toward future flights due to these extenuating circumstances we find ourselves in today (regardless of fare type originally purchased). It may be months before we are able to travel again due to the virus itself and other obligations, and an expiring voucher is not preferred. I will absolutely be re-thinking future purchases with Southwest Airlines depending on their reaction to their valued customer's situations. 

 

For what it's worth, I did not cancel because of a personal wish to do so, our family was booked for a visit to Disneyland which was closed. Now I am out hundreds of dollars unless I rebook immediately, from what I was told by SWA Customer Service. For what it's worth, the SWA employee I spoke with the day before yesterday was very kind and tried to go out of his way to help me after I learned the Early Bird Checkin was non refundable/unable to be used as a credit on future flights).

 

Best of luck to all of us in the same boat 😞 Stay safe out there! 

 

~Wendy

New Arrival

Give the ticket refunds to those that are not willing to risk their lives during this pandemic! It is the right thing to do! Greed is never appropriate, but it is pure evil coming from SW during these times.  

New Arrival

Group reservations policy should seriously be reconsidered during this time! I think it’s ridiculous to state airlines have not had stipulations put on them so basically you are out of luck. We had group reservations that were not of any discount as I put in my smaller family of 5 to see prices first for our group of 14 it ended up actually being a bit higher to do as a group but was easier to manage. The fact we had a cruise vacation planned that was taken out of our control away from us we now have flights with nowhere to go! A credit towards a future reservation would be more appropriate as these are by far normal circumstances. Very poor customer service. Southwest out of every little aspect of our trip rental vehicles hotels cruise everything is the absolute only aspect that is willing to unwaiver from the policy. Wouldn’t have to be a refund but a credit or something. Kids aren’t allowed to go to school or sports activities and I’ve see school groups that are supposed to travel and also not getting any consideration. Out of 5 businesses I’ve had to deal with for this trip they are literally the only one that has given an I don’t really care attitude because it’s a contract.

Active Member

Is the hiring process paused due to the Covid-19 coronavirus 

New Arrival

Please extend travel funds expiration dates! Customers should not feel pressured to fly during this time!

New Arrival

In reviewing your pollicy and Q & A I did not find an answer if one can wear a N95 mask if one is healthy.

Rising Star

I don't see why anyone would be prohibited from wearing an N95 face mask.

Employee
Employee

We understand your concerns regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The Safety of our Customers and Employees is of the utmost importance, and we are working diligently to ensure that our aircraft are as clean as possible. To answer your specific question and/or concern, please contact us at one of our Customer Service channels here. Thank you!

New Arrival

i totally agree with these comments regarding the extension of travel voucher dates past what is offered now. if my original trip was purchased October  for our easter holiday it does me NO good to only be able to fly by October! give us a break here and allow the deadline to be the same as the current trip booked.it seems only reasonable.

New Arrival

I booked flights for my wife and two grandsons for trip to Washington D.C. 

Date booked October 3, 2019 schedule flight March 30 and return April 4 during spring Break.  Southwest needs to be more flexible with expiration date to be one year for scheduled flight date to match Spring Break 2021..

 

Send e-mails and letters ro Southwest decision makers and elected Officials.  If they 

expecting help from Federal Government they need to revise their POLICIES.

New Arrival

Although a little out of context what is the position of Security Check, where we have to remove our jackets, belts,shoes,laptops, mobile, wallets and keep in the trays used by several persons in the airports. what kind of sanitation is being adopted by these guys. Another thing is the Cabin luggage which every one carries. It would be great if it is accepted as check in  so that a little less risk. While it is in the check in storage it may get sanitized with some gas or ultra violet rays. 

New Arrival

SWA SOCIALLY IRRESPONSIBLE

 

I have a flight on SWA tomorrow from San Diego to San Jose. The "TRAVEL FUNDS" I used to book these flights expire on April 10th.

 

 I called SWA Customer Relations to see what they could/would do to extend the TRAVEL FUNDS expiration date. I know for a FACT that they can REFUND the TRAVEL FUNDS (they had done it a couple of times in the past three months when I didn't ask them to do so). Today I asked for an EXTENSION of time without paying the $100 fee of my $60 in TRAVEL FUNDS for two flights I have tomorrow or a REFUND if they could not. CDC also issued new guidelines today that they recommend no social gatherings of more than 50 people for the NEXT 8 WEEKS.



The response I got from SWA Customer Relations Agent was the "POWERS to BE" have said, "We understand your situation in California, and we are not willing to extend the date your funds will expire, or issue a refund., sorry."

 

Disney canceled all the cruises scheduled before April 1st. They closed all their Parks and extended the expiration dates of ALL Disney Annual Passholders. That was a socially responsible thing to do.

 



I am disappointed with the response from SWA. I guess I expected more from them. I WAS WRONG.

 

SAN FRANCISCO — Gov. Gavin Newsom on Sunday called for what he called “profoundly significant steps” to limit the spread of coronavirus, including the isolation at home of all residents 65 years and older; the closure of nightclubs, wineries, and bars; and the purchase by the state of hotels to shelter some of the state’s 150,000 homeless people.

 

New Arrival

We have flights booked partially with credits for April 1-12. Those travel credit funds expire at the end of April 2020, including the money paid for the difference in fare. These were booked in mid-September 2019. It's likely that we will have to cancel this trip the way things are going with school, venue, restaurant, and other closures along with imposed government restrictions. Not to mention wanting to do the right thing by canceling to help prevent the spread and "flatten the curve". I keep seeing here that Southwest is not extending the expiration date of travel funds due to COVID-19 concerns or restrictions. If true, this is ludicrous. Your loyal customers deserve better.

 

I agree with several previous posts that travel credits should be extended into 2021 for this particular situation as these are unprecedented times, in a non-standard travel environment. Especially if the funds have been booked within the original year but now will be cancelled due to this situation.

 

I also agree that Southwest's no-change fee and travel fund policies are very generous, but not making an exception to the policies for travel during this time does not seem like TransFAREncy to me. I love Southwest, but the company needs to re-evaluate this decision before it causes you to lose your customers.