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COVID and Pressurization

New Arrival

As a recently retired corporate pilot and former airline FAA licensed Flight Dispatcher on the Boeing 737 series aircraft, I know there are two settings for air conditioning and pressurization.  Both settings control the air condition packs.  ECON or Recirculation increases fuel efficiency by 3-5% by recirculating some of the cabin air thereby reducing the demand on the left and right AC packs and associated engine bleed air.  The 100% setting produces fresh filtered air to the cabin.  The down fall is increased fuel consumption (3-5%) by placing more demand on engine bleed air.  However........in the current environment of COVID does Southwest operate the cabin AC/Pressurization in 100% fresh air or recirculated air?  Maybe someone on this forum knows, before I contact Customer Support.

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Re: COVID and Pressurization

Top Contributor

@Steve1822 wrote:

As a recently retired corporate pilot and former airline FAA licensed Flight Dispatcher on the Boeing 737 series aircraft, I know there are two settings for air conditioning and pressurization.  Both settings control the air condition packs.  ECON or Recirculation increases fuel efficiency by 3-5% by recirculating some of the cabin air thereby reducing the demand on the left and right AC packs and associated engine bleed air.  The 100% setting produces fresh filtered air to the cabin.  The down fall is increased fuel consumption (3-5%) by placing more demand on engine bleed air.  However........in the current environment of COVID does Southwest operate the cabin AC/Pressurization in 100% fresh air or recirculated air?  Maybe someone on this forum knows, before I contact Customer Support.


 

I don't have an answer to your question, and I doubt you'll get one from Southwest, but if it's helpful at all, Southwest does advertise, "full exchange of fresh outdoor air every 2-3 minutes while in flight."

 

You may have better luck asking on one of the pilots' forums online elsewhere. 

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Re: COVID and Pressurization

Employee
Employee

Thanks for reaching out, @Steve1822.

 

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Southwest Airlines already followed the industry’s best practices for maintaining quality cabin air. Southwest’s Boeing 737s are equipped with HEPA filters that filter cabin air, and the on-board system effectively introduces fresh air into the cabin every few minutes. The HEPA air filters also remove 99.97% of airborne particles—similar to technology found in hospitals. Additionally, it is Southwest’s policy to operate with the cabin and flight deck air recirculation fans turned on at all times – both on the ground and during flight—which directs air through the HEPA filtration system and provides the greatest flow rate.

 

 

Nicole
Community Manager