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no mask enforcement on a packed flight

lacymarie
New Arrival

I have been flying regularly throughout the pandemic, and the experience is very inconsistent. I've had flights where everyone wore masks appropriately, and flight attendants were diligent in reminding any customers who were not following protocol. However, last night was the worst experience I've had in many years. Our flight was completely full, including middle seats, and there was NO attempt to enforce mask wearing. I observed several customers with masks worn below their noses, or even below their mouths, and in one case a customer completely removed his mask for most of the flight. He was in an exit row and the flight attendants were certainly aware and said nothing. I did not see or hear them address any of the passengers who were non-compliant. I have not felt so unsafe on a flight in many years. With the pandemic at an all-time high, I cannot understand how so many customers' safety was put at risk, right before the holidays especially, due to staff not enforcing Southwest's own policies. I'll be reluctant to fly Southwest again until the pandemic is under control. 

6 REPLIES 6

Re: no mask enforcement on a packed flight

jksobonya
Rising Star

Now that we have a vaccine with millions of doses set to be available by the end of the year (in other words: in a matter of weeks), I'd argue that the pandemic is pretty much under control now. Our vaccine is here. We've been told for months that we have to wait "until a vaccine" and here we are, way ahead of schedule. 

 

But this:  However, last night was the worst experience I've had in many years. 

 

That can't be true, since regarding mask compliance on airplanes, we've only been wearing masks for half a year or so. 

 

--Jessica

Re: no mask enforcement on a packed flight

chgoflyer
Top Contributor

It's sad that I have to say this:

 

The pandemic is far from under control, and in fact is at its worst in every measurable way right now.

 

The recently approved vaccine (along with other vaccines in various stages of approval) represent significant light at the end of the tunnel, but it will likely be months until their availability reaches most people. Or longer. 

 

Anyone suggesting otherwise simply isn't paying attention to the facts.

 

 

 

 

 

Re: no mask enforcement on a packed flight

chgoflyer
Top Contributor
Solution

@lacymarie wrote:

I have been flying regularly throughout the pandemic, and the experience is very inconsistent. I've had flights where everyone wore masks appropriately, and flight attendants were diligent in reminding any customers who were not following protocol. However, last night was the worst experience I've had in many years. Our flight was completely full, including middle seats, and there was NO attempt to enforce mask wearing. I observed several customers with masks worn below their noses, or even below their mouths, and in one case a customer completely removed his mask for most of the flight. He was in an exit row and the flight attendants were certainly aware and said nothing. I did not see or hear them address any of the passengers who were non-compliant. I have not felt so unsafe on a flight in many years. With the pandemic at an all-time high, I cannot understand how so many customers' safety was put at risk, right before the holidays especially, due to staff not enforcing Southwest's own policies. I'll be reluctant to fly Southwest again until the pandemic is under control. 


 

That's unfortunate. Since this is mostly a customer-to-customer forum, I'd recommend you reach out directly to let Southwest know about your experience.

 

Contact Customer Relations 

 

 

Re: no mask enforcement on a packed flight

Grady005
New Arrival

I cannot tell you how disappointed that SW has decided now at the height of the pandemic to start selling the middle seats.  I too have had mixed results with passengers obeying request for mask, and  people flat out not wearing them.

I realize that SWA is a business and needs to stay a float during this difficult time, but they also should realize the number of long term business fliers that will seek other options because of the oversold flights.

 I also am so disappointed that it now takes me sometimes 7-8 hours to get to destination that in the past only took 2-3 hours. 

Limited flights, oversold seats, I will be forced to shop other airlines until some of the SW service that I cherished in the past returns.

Re: no mask enforcement on a packed flight

dfwskier
Top Contributor

@Grady005 wrote:

 

After the first of the year, Delta will be the only airline not selling middle seats. If that is your most important criteria in choosing who to fly, then Delta is it.

 

CDC infectious disease experts have said it is very difficult to catch the virus on a plane.

A statistician puts the odds at 1 in 400,000 to 1 - 600,000. Basically an infected passenger would have to sneeze or cough directly on your unmasked face. That is why American, United, Southwest and every other airline except Delta is now selling middle seats.

 

Southwest has said it will, in the days before a flight, notify passengers on nearly full flights  of that face, and will allow passengers to switch to less full flights - at no cost. Most flights are going out with 50 -70 percent of the seats empty. I've had 2 of those in the last 2 weeks. Flights during Christmas and to vacation destinations (ie

Disney World)might be the exception. In general, you don't have to worry about center seats being full.

 

 

As far as the added travel time goes, every airline has pared schedules due to lack of passengers. If airlines had kept their pre virus schedules intact, you'd be looking at lots of bankrupt airlines right now. When you see passengers return to the sky in sufficient numbers, then you'll see some flights being added back.

 

Re: no mask enforcement on a packed flight

chgoflyer
Top Contributor

Interesting article that I think helps highlight what many are thinking regarding travel over the next few months:

 

Why I’m canceling trips now after traveling the last several months

 

It does seem unfortunate to me that carriers aren't really extending any more accommodations due to covid, with the situation currently at it's worst point since the pandemic began. Other than eliminating change fees, which is admittedly a big one, but one that just puts the legacy carriers on the same footing as Southwest (which has never charged them in the first place).

 

If they were to offer a longer reuse period for travel funds, I suspect some people might be more open to at least booking potential travel for the months ahead. It would help offset some of the uncertainty.

 

It will be difficult to counteract the loss of customer goodwill for those who are finding their travel funds for flights booked a year ago now disappearing. This despite rebooking multiple times, in good faith, hoping to actually fly, only to now find the situation is worse than ever. I think these customers have a legitimate complaint, and it's being ignored.

 

That said, I think many people simply won't be traveling until they've received the vaccine themselves, and/or destinations are more open anyway.