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Southwest Airlines Community

Clarify masks and eating

Explorer C

We will have a long day of flying - first a very early commuter flight to airport, a short time between flights and then a two hour SW flight , change planes and another flight to our destination. I understand the mask requirement, but somewhere we will need to eat something and take medications.  Can we remove our masks on the plane to do that or should we do it in the airport if we have time?


Re: Clarify masks and eating

Aviator A

You are allowed to eat, here is the policy from


  • The following are times when a Customer may need to briefly remove their mask:
    • When necessary for identity verification purposes such as during Transportation Security Administration screening or when asked to do so by our Employees or any law enforcement official
    • While eating, drinking, or taking oral medications. Prolonged periods of mask removal are not permitted for eating or drinking; the mask must be worn between bites and sips.
    • While communicating with a person who is hearing impaired when the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication
    • If, on an aircraft, wearing of oxygen masks is needed because of loss of cabin pressure or other event affecting aircraft ventilation
    • If unconscious (for reasons other than sleeping), incapacitated, unable to be awakened, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance

Based on comments from other travelers, if you are actively eating you should have no problem.  It's the people that take a bite every couple of minutes with their mask off that run into problem.



Re: Clarify masks and eating

Aviator A

You can eat and drink on the plane - it's generally not a problem, as long as you put your mask back on when you are finished.



Re: Clarify masks and eating

Aviator C

@MarianR You have your answer in the previous posts.  I always grab some type of snack or drink before boarding just so that I can get a few small moments of breathing air without a mask.  Even I admit, (as a well-known mask supporter) that several hours of a mask nonstop can be overwhelming.  So take snacks on and enjoy.