Southwest Airlines Strengthens Onboard Mask Policy

Photo: Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines continues to bolster its Southwest Promise to support the well-being and comfort of its employees and customers. The airline’s revised face covering policy has been in place since July 27, and, based upon feedback and observations, Southwest is now adding a few clarifications regarding what will be accepted as a face covering.

Southwest Airlines Acceptable Forms of Face Coverings: Effective August 8

In accordance with current CDC guidance, a well-secured cloth or mask that fits snugly against the face, covers an individual’s nose and mouth, and is secured under the chin will be accepted. These are a few examples of face coverings that will not be accepted:

  • Face coverings with holes in the covering, including those with exhaust valves or those made solely of materials like mesh or lace fabrics
  • Face coverings that cannot be secured under the chin, including bandanas and face shields
  • Face shields may be worn in addition to face coverings but not in place of face coverings or masks.
  • Neck gaiters (also called multi-bands) may be worn as face coverings so long as they cover the nose and mouth and are secured under the chin.

As with the airline’s current policy, Southwest Airlines will continue offering face masks at its airport locations for any customer that forgets to bring a face covering.

To complement the airline’s face covering policy, Southwest Airlines also performs enhanced overnight cleanings of all aircraft surfaces, cleans high-touch surfaces before each flight, utilizes HEPA air filters to ensure a fresh exchange of cabin air every few minutes, and applies an electrostatic disinfectant and an anti-microbial spray to every surface of the aircraft, killing viruses on contact and forming an anti-microbial coating, or shield, for 30 days.


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