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Southwest COVID Policy: The Guide

Since the start of the pandemic, there have been dozens of modifications concerning how we journey. Interest in journey insurance coverage is up, empty seats between passengers had been briefly instituted earlier than overbooked flights had been as soon as once more the norm, and employees shortages and spikes in instances have constantly confirmed troublesome for airways and vacationers alike.

So with all of the fixed updates and modifications, what are present journey tips? To assist you navigate journey throughout a pandemic, right here’s an summary of the present Southwest Airlines COVID coverage so you recognize what to anticipate the subsequent time you fly.

Does Southwest require a COVID check earlier than flying?

For starters, Southwest Airlines COVID guidelines state that in the event you’re flying domestically throughout the U.S., you don’t want proof of a unfavorable COVID-19 check earlier than boarding. If you’re flying to the U.S. from a global vacation spot, nevertheless, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines, you will want proof of a unfavorable check taken inside 24 hours of your flight. That goes for everybody over the age of two, whether or not you’re totally vaccinated or not.

Alternatively, you possibly can present proof of restoration in the event you’ve had the virus within the final  90 days.

If you’re flying from the U.S. to a global vacation spot, you’ll should test the native restrictions and necessities the place you’ll be touchdown, as a lot of Southwest’s locations require both a unfavorable check taken inside sooner or later previous to your arrival or a quarantine when you land.

Recent modifications to COVID insurance policies

Lots has modified over the previous two years, and airline rules are not any completely different. Here’s what Southwest COVID insurance policies have been applied or modified because the pandemic started:

March 2020

  • Beverage and meals service is briefly suspended on Southwest flights.

  • Expiration dates for unused journey funds from canceled flights are prolonged.

  • Flight capability is lowered.

  • Southwest implements an enhanced plane cleansing program.

April 2020

  • Southwest extends standing for A-List and A-List Preferred members and provides a lift towards standing for normal Rapid Rewards members.

  • Southwest additional extends the expiration date for unused journey funds and credit.

May 2020

  • Southwest staff are required to put on face masks.

  • All passengers are required to put on face masks.

  • The variety of passengers on board is proscribed.

  • Plexiglas boundaries are put in at ticket counters, gate podiums and baggage service workplaces.

June 2020

  • Southwest implements boarding in teams of 10 to permit for distancing and types just one line at a time.

  • Added signage and flooring markers in gate areas encourage distancing.

  • The promise of open center seats is prolonged till Sept. 30.

  • Masks are supplied for purchasers.

  • Hand sanitizer is extensively accessible throughout the airport.

September 2020

  • The promise to maintain center seats open is prolonged via November.

One factor that did keep the identical over the past two years: Southwest has by no means charged flight change or cancel charges, not like many airways, and your first and second checked luggage nonetheless fly free.

How flying Southwest has modified not too long ago

Naturally, all these modifications have altered what it’s wish to fly with Southwest, although the expertise is basically again to regular:

  • Flights are as soon as once more booked at full capability.

  • Beverage service has been reinstated.

  • Boarding has returned to pre-pandemic procedures (passengers board by zone in teams of 30 and nonetheless select their very own seats).

There are, nevertheless, a couple of COVID insurance policies nonetheless in place:

  • Masks are required to be worn by all passengers and staff in airports and at some point of your flight.

  • Negative COVID-19 assessments are required for journey into the U.S. and to many worldwide locations.

How air journey, on the whole, has modified

Of course, it’s not simply the expertise of flying with Southwest that has modified since spring 2020; flying on the whole is a really completely different expertise than it was.

For instance, touchpoints and employee-customer interactions have been lowered all through many airports as passengers are inspired to make use of digital boarding passes, and test in and tag their very own baggage. Plus, masks on any type of public transportation, together with in airports and on planes, is federally mandated.

Vaccines, unfavorable assessments or quarantines should not solely really useful however required in lots of locations. Flight cancellations have been on a curler coaster trip as COVID spikes trigger worker shortages. And the general variety of passengers is steadily growing to pre-pandemic ranges amid all of it. To ensure, the pandemic has possible modified air journey for good.

Other essential ideas

If you’re touring by air, with Southwest or another airline, listed below are a couple of extra issues to remember:

  • Don’t journey in the event you really feel sick or had a detailed contact with COVID-19 within the final 5 days.

  • Make positive you recognize what the journey restrictions are in your meant vacation spot, but additionally to your return journey.

  • Wear a correct face masks (not a bandana or vented masks) over your nostril and mouth always.

Flying Southwest within the COVID period

In the ever-changing panorama that’s air journey throughout a worldwide pandemic, there have been loads of ups and downs, however Southwest’s COVID insurance policies attempt to supply each elevated security and peace of thoughts to passengers, regardless of the place they’re headed.

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