Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQs
Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQs
Can I receive a refund if I’ve booked a nonrefundable ticket on Southwest and feel uncomfortable flying?
If you purchased a nonrefundable fare for travel between March 1 and September 7, 2020 and you cancel your flight in accordance with Southwest's No Show Policy, you will receive travel funds good through September 7, 2022. For additional information visit this article: Will I receive a refund due to COVID-19?
Is there a fee to change my flight to a different date?
Southwest does not charge fees to change or cancel flights, although applicable fare differences may apply.
Will my flight be canceled because of the coronavirus (COVID-19)?
Southwest continues evaluating its flight schedules and making adjustments as necessary (more information here).
Additionally, the carrier recently announced it would be reducing available seat miles (ASMs, or capacity) by at least 20 percent for the time period April 14, 2020 through June 5, 2020. These flight schedule reductions are in addition to the Company's existing capacity impact due to the Boeing 737 MAX groundings. The revisions will vary by day of week and region—some airports and regions will be more impacted than others.
Customers who have already booked their travel and will be impacted by our amended schedule will be notified of their re-accommodated travel according to our flexible accommodation procedures.
Will you be extending A-List and A-List Preferred tier status?
Yes, for current Rapid Rewards tier status members who earned A-List or A-List Preferred Status through December 31, 2020, and not through any type of promotion, their current earned status will be extended through December 31, 2021.
Will you be extending Companion Pass benefits?
Yes, for current Rapid Rewards Companion Pass members who earned Companion Pass benefits through December 31, 2020, and not through any type of promotion, their current Companion Pass benefits will be extended through June, 30, 2021.
Is there any prior registration required, before my tier status or Companion Pass are extended?
No. If you qualify for an extension you’re Tier Status and/or Companion Pass benefits will be automatically extended in the upcoming weeks. There is no action needed by the Members.
I was on my way to qualify for A-List, A-List Preferred, and Companion Pass this year. How are you helping me still achieve my status?
We know your current travel plans have been temporarily interrupted. For that reason, we are giving all RapidRewards 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.
I currently have Travel Funds. Will they be extended?
Yes, 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.
Customers are always our top priority and we hope this gives Customers with travel funds additional time as they consider their travel needs in the future. Please note, it will take a few days to make these changes and more details on this extension can be found here.
What other options do I have for Travel Funds? Please know we are working around the clock to provide Customers with travel flexibility. If a Customer is a Rapid Reward Member with travel funds that are set to expire or funds that are created between March 1, 2020 and September 7, 2020, they now have the option to convert those travel funds into Rapid Rewards® points at the same rate they would be able to purchase a ticket with points today.
We hope this provides our Members ultimate flexibility as Rapid Rewards points never expire, and never have cancel or change fees (fare difference may apply). Travel funds will be automatically extended for the two years mentioned once we bring this new functionality to fruition.
Do your aircraft also fly to international destinations?
Southwest’s fleet flies interchangeably to both domestic and international locations which include locations in Latin America, Central America, and the Caribbean. Southwest has suspended service to its international destinations effective March 23, 2020. As of May 21, Southwest will begin reintroducing limited international service. Please see summaries of flight schedule revisions for both May and June for specifics.
Southwest aircraft are maintained in accordance with an established cleaning program that includes cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting the cabin in a manner that meets or exceeds recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO).
Southwest does not serve Asia or Europe.
How do I know that your aircraft cabins are safe from the coronavirus
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 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 cleaning efforts in response to the current environment.
How do you keep the cabin air clean?
All of our aircraft are equipped with HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filters, which filter out airborne particles as the air onboard is recirculated with outside air. These same HEPA filters are used in many hospitals to enhance air quality within that environment.
Our aircraft are also designed with an air circulation system that mixes in fresh air from outside the plane. The HEPA filter and the air circulation system work together to provide the optimum air quality while onboard a Southwest plane which, in most cases, exceeds the quality of air that can be found in outdoor air, as well as a typical office building or similar public venue. On average, a complete exchange of cabin air and outside air is accomplished every three minutes.
Are face masks being offered on your aircraft?
Visit the article below for the latest on our new mask policy.
Can Customers bring hand sanitizers onboard your aircraft when traveling?
Absolutely. You must adhere to the Transportation and Security Administration’s (TSA) regulations for carrying gels or liquids through airport security checkpoints, of course. If you bring your own hand or surface sanitizing items onboard, please use items that do not contain bleach, or have “plus bleach” on the label, as they risk damaging hard and soft surfaces.
Additionally, we request that Customers do not use aerosol or pump-spray cleaners, as those products cannot be contained to your personal space and may impact other Customers in the shared environment of our aircraft cabins
How is Southwest facilitating social distancing?
We have added new physical distancing practices:
- We are limiting the number of people onboard each flight to provide Customers more personal space so there will be no need for the middle seat to be occupied (currently through June). But if you’re traveling together, you can still sit together.
- Our boarding process is changing. We’re boarding in groups of 10 and only on one side of our boarding poles to help our Customers spread out.
Is Southwest recommending any specific actions to Customers?
We recommend the CDC’s website as a resource for ways that Customers can best protect themselves from becoming ill.
- It is highly encouraged to bring your own hand sanitizer and mask. If you forget your mask at home, one will be available for you.
- Download your mobile boarding pass prior to arrival to limit the amount of exchanges you make with others.
- Arrive at the airport earlier to allow for new check-in and security processes.
- Maintain physical spacing at the airport and onboard.
- Do not travel if you are sick or have COVID-19 symptoms. We never charge a fee to change or cancel a flight, and you can rebook your travel for a later date.
What do I need to know if I'm traveling to a Southwest destination outside of the U.S.?
Some governments have implemented COVID-19 restrictions specific to air passengers who have traveled to destinations in Europe and Asia within the previous 14 days. These restrictions are dynamic and being updated frequently, so we suggest Customers reference International Air Transport Association for the latest guidance ahead of any international travel.
What enhanced cleaning is Southwest doing to ensure aircraft are safe?
We have added multiple layers of stringent cleaning and disinfecting:
- An electrostatic disinfectant and anti-microbial spray is applied on every surface of the aircraft that kills viruses on contact and forms an anti-microbial coating or shield for 30 days.
- Sani-Cide EX3, a broad-spectrum disinfectant, will be used to clean commonly used areas (onboard lavatories, tray tables, armrests, seat belts, flight attendant call buttons, and overhead bin handles) before every flight. (Begins mid-May)
- We also deep clean each plane from nose to tail for nearly 6-7 hours every night. (Began March 4)
- Our gate areas, ticket counters, and baggage claim areas are cleaned multiple times a day.
- Hand sanitizer will be available at the airport and wipes will be available onboard for Customers.
- We use HEPA air filters onboard our aircraft, which remove 99.97% of airborne particles—similar to technology found in hospitals.
- We have aligned these stringent cleaning policies and procedures with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Will local bans on public gatherings and crowd sizes impact my travel on Southwest?
Currently, no restrictions have been placed upon travel. Of course, we will continue to monitor and comply with all local ordinances in the communities we serve, while following applicable guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
For updates on government guidance and details about what carriers are doing, Airlines for America have developed the following resources: