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Southwest Airlines Community

Please relax mask policy

M3WAState
New Arrival

SWA,

Please relax your mask restriction for children under 5. I understand that you have published rules. I understand the rules. From a parent's perspective, we are doing the best we can to comply with official airline policy.  Air travel is difficult for young children. Many of us are compliant with mask policies in our own states on a day to day basis but 9+ hours on a flight with a mask for a child without a break except when eating or drinking is difficult. There will be more families traveling during the holidays. Please consider revisiting this policy or at least enforcement of the policy on flights. 

14 REPLIES 14

Re: Please relax mask policy

dfwskier
Top Contributor

I do understand your pain, but wearing masks has been proven that masks do prevent spread.

 

Besides, the president elect has just asked all people to wear masks the moment they leave their houses.

 

I'm afraid that   the trend is more mask wearing and not less.

Re: Please relax mask policy

PetertheProphet
Active Member

@dfwskier wrote:

I do understand your pain, but wearing masks has been proven that masks do prevent spread.

 

Besides, the president elect has just asked all people to wear masks the moment they leave their houses.

 

I'm afraid that   the trend is more mask wearing and not less.


Nothing you stated is supported by any of the scientific or medical literature. Masks cannot prevent the spread of viruses because the pores in face masks are larger than the size of viral particles. Masks don't even protect you from wildfire smoke particulates (admitted by the CDC, btw) which are in fact larger than the size of viral particles.

Re: Please relax mask policy

CareforNOLA
Active Member

@M3WAState, thank you for doing your best as a parent-passenger and articulating the question well.  As a person who worked Pediatrics in medicine, I agree that it can be challenging to fly with little ones right now.  It is always challenging, but the masks add a new level of anxiety, especially with connecting flights.  Getting stuck outside the departure or arrival location would be terrifying.  

 

The airline has to balance having the same rules for all versus giving employees the ability to innovate in serving individual customers which has been a historic precedent for the airline.  I am a customer who once received that innovative service attitude when I left my wallet on a flight, and a flight attendant ran down the concourse to return it.  So I remain a devoted Southwest customer and fan.  I always liked that, as long as safety wasn’t compromised, employees had leeway to do something different.  

 

In this unusual time of empty middle seats, when a screaming toddler is melting down, perhaps a flight attendant might ask if any row would be willing to sit shoulder to shoulder (that is, allow a masked passenger in their middle seat) to offer those seated nearby the crying child a chance to move.  Although it might be a potential solution, I am not an airline ventilation expert.  I have also seen so many self-centered passengers that I can envision a parent who might whip their toddler into a frenzy to try to get the extra space if that were an official policy.  (One only has to look at pre-boarding and service animals to see the lengths that some passengers will use to meet their personal desires versus the greater good of the group.)

 

Perhaps a return to the smoking versus no-smoking type of seating where two to three rows in the back are designated for families with small children who might get upset about wearing a mask? Giving families an option to be near others who share their same concerns about toddlers and their very natural tendency to get upset about strange situations.  

 

I would expect that Southwest is trying to do whatever it can to fly as full as they can, and I expect that they will always choose safety whenever competing interests occur.  Perhaps someone could design a windowed cloth hood for infants-toddlers versus a mask, and there could be one or two available on each flight.  But then, would it have to be purchased by the parent versus just provided by the airline?  Logistical challenges abound.  (Admittedly, I would gladly have purchased one for a struggling parent in order to calm certain tough situations on flights years ago before the mask requirement.)

 

 Hopefully your request can be considered and the community can contribute any other creative ideas for the airline’s consideration.  Nothing is for certain, but crowd-sourcing and creative ideas could lead to fresh perspectives.

Re: Please relax mask policy

M3WAState
New Arrival

Thank you for your thoughtful suggestions - I hadn't considered those. I'd even be willing to show a negative test for the child within a day or two before the flight if that would be accepted. Some airlines are doing that now - Alaska I think on certain routes. It would be appreciated if there was more empathy by passengers and crew on this issue. This virus and strict policies have turned us against one another which is very sad to see. 

Re: Please relax mask policy

PetertheProphet
Active Member

@CareforNOLA wrote:

@M3WAState, thank you for doing your best as a parent-passenger and articulating the question well.  As a person who worked Pediatrics in medicine, I agree that it can be challenging to fly with little ones right now.  It is always challenging, but the masks add a new level of anxiety, especially with connecting flights.  Getting stuck outside the departure or arrival location would be terrifying.  

 

The airline has to balance having the same rules for all versus giving employees the ability to innovate in serving individual customers which has been a historic precedent for the airline.  I am a customer who once received that innovative service attitude when I left my wallet on a flight, and a flight attendant ran down the concourse to return it.  So I remain a devoted Southwest customer and fan.  I always liked that, as long as safety wasn’t compromised, employees had leeway to do something different.  

 

In this unusual time of empty middle seats, when a screaming toddler is melting down, perhaps a flight attendant might ask if any row would be willing to sit shoulder to shoulder (that is, allow a masked passenger in their middle seat) to offer those seated nearby the crying child a chance to move.  Although it might be a potential solution, I am not an airline ventilation expert.  I have also seen so many self-centered passengers that I can envision a parent who might whip their toddler into a frenzy to try to get the extra space if that were an official policy.  (One only has to look at pre-boarding and service animals to see the lengths that some passengers will use to meet their personal desires versus the greater good of the group.)

 

Perhaps a return to the smoking versus no-smoking type of seating where two to three rows in the back are designated for families with small children who might get upset about wearing a mask? Giving families an option to be near others who share their same concerns about toddlers and their very natural tendency to get upset about strange situations.  

 

I would expect that Southwest is trying to do whatever it can to fly as full as they can, and I expect that they will always choose safety whenever competing interests occur.  Perhaps someone could design a windowed cloth hood for infants-toddlers versus a mask, and there could be one or two available on each flight.  But then, would it have to be purchased by the parent versus just provided by the airline?  Logistical challenges abound.  (Admittedly, I would gladly have purchased one for a struggling parent in order to calm certain tough situations on flights years ago before the mask requirement.)

 

 Hopefully your request can be considered and the community can contribute any other creative ideas for the airline’s consideration.  Nothing is for certain, but crowd-sourcing and creative ideas could lead to fresh perspectives.


You're missing the fact that forcing someone who is unable to wear a mask is a violation of the Air Carrier Access Act. So what Southwest is currently doing is illegal, and frustrated customers have already filed lawsuits. And no, they weren't thrown out, which goes to show that their complaints aren't exactly "frivolous."

 

If you truly worked in pediatric medicine, you would understand that reduced oxygen saturation is NOT good for anyone, especially children. To force a child to wear a mask is a form of abuse and can result in hypoxic injuries, increased cortisol levels, and numerous other health problems induced by oxygen deprivation and the psychological stress of wearing a mask. 

 

If the airlines want to continue remaining in business, then they should start respecting their customers, because money doesn't grow on trees, and Congress will eventually grow tired of bailing out the airlines, especially if they're abusing customers.

Re: Please relax mask policy

SWFlyer007
Rising Star

@M3WAState I understand your pain for a child and keeping the mask on, the same with me, I'm 64 and still want to just yank the thing off and take a deep breath.  But let me just share this.  On a major network this morning, they were interviewing a couple who just lost their 5-year-old to COVID.  A healthy young lady, no underlying issues, however, was African American.  PLEASE, PLEASE, as much as it may be problematic, keep your 5-year-old in a mask.  All life is precious.  

Re: Please relax mask policy

M3WAState
New Arrival

I don't disagree that masks are important and I think you're missing my point. As I initially stated, we are compliant in our state. Quickly stopping at a grocery store for a couple of items with a masked child is do able. Masking the child when appropriate and required by our governor's guidelines, generally, isn't a problem. Traveling across the country on long flights is stressful for adult and children alike. The SW policy to kick parents and non-compliant two year olds off the plane is misguided and simply cruel. As parents, we are trying to do the right thing for our children while adhering to flight rules. A little more understanding of that by the airline and its passengers could go a long way. 

Re: Please relax mask policy

dfwskier
Top Contributor

@M3WAState wrote:

  Traveling across the country on long flights is stressful for adult and children alike. The SW policy to kick parents and non-compliant two year olds off the plane is misguided and simply cruel. As parents, we are trying to do the right thing for our children while adhering to flight rules. A little more understanding of that by the airline and its passengers could go a long way. 


 I view it a bit differently. Parents that can;t get their kids to wear masks are taking the risk of exposing their kids to the virus or having their kids infect others.. Southwest isn't being cruel to anyone. Southwest is simply enforcing a policy that every boarding adult passenger has agreed to abide by.

 

If I had a kid that would not wear a mask, I would not put the kid on a plane -- but  that's just me.

Re: Please relax mask policy

CareforNOLA
Active Member

@dfwskier, I see your point but sometimes flying is the only option, such as for medical treatment or custody orders, especially with dual working parents.

 

And if they have to fly for medical treatment, kudos to the (at least) two outstanding pediatric medical facilities in Dallas — both very close to Love Field.  A huge Thank You to SWA for supporting the Ronald McDonald House for the caregivers who need lodging in the DFW area.