Southwest airplane
Southwest airplane

Southwest's cuts back on aircraft cleaning between flights

TripFalcon August 04, 2020

Last Update: 2020-08-04 09:48:46

Southwest Airlines has cut back on its cleaning procedures as the Dallas-based airline returns to standard turnaround times.

According to an Southwest memo to flight attendants obtained by USA TODAY, starting Aug. 1, the between-flight cleaning has focused on high-touch areas like the lavatories and tray tables, which are disinfected before each takeoff (top, bottom and latch of each table).

"These are the most important areas to clean between each flight as they are prone to contamination from Customer use and food/beverage consumption," the memo states.

Areas such as arm rests and seat belts will not be wiped down between each flight with the new policy.

These areas will continue to be covered in the airlines "enhanced" nightly cleaning that was implemented in March during the coronavirus pandemic. To further cleanliness and ease customer concern, each plane undergoes a "deep" electrostatic cleaning once a month. That process kills bacteria on contact for 30 days, Ro Hawthorne, a spokesperson for Southwest, told USA TODAY.

The airline will provide sanitizing wipes to customers, upon request, to wipe down any onboard surface.

Minimizing the turnaround time between flights is a key aspect of Southwest's business model.

Hawthorne stressed in the statement that, "as always, Southwest will monitor Customer and Employee feedback as we adapt to the new normal in air travel, while ensuring we keep safety as our top priority."

The airline previously said it plans to continue blocking middle seats through at least October.

Source: usatoday