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Southwest No Longer Cleaning Armrests and Seat Belts Between Flights
If you are flying Southwest Airlines, be sure to pack some extra disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer.
The Dallas-based company said it will no longer disinfect armrests and seatbelts between flights as it begins returning to a more normal turnaround schedule.
On Aug. 1, Southwest rolled out a revised between-flight sanitization policy that focuses more on bathrooms and tray tables, eliminating seat belts and armrests.
The shift in policy was to prioritize what the airline calls “high-touch areas” while also reportedly minimizing turnaround time, even though seatbelts are required for a majority of the flight – therefore touched by every passenger.
“These are the most important areas to clean between each flight as they are prone to contamination from Customer use and food/beverage consumption,” a memo shared with USA Today read.
Seat belts and armrests will now be cleaned at night as part of its “six to seven-hour” deep clean.
Passengers, however, can disinfect their own areas with sanitizing wipes from the airline upon request.
Southwest has also pledged to maintain empty middle seats until at least through October to better allow for social distancing.
“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,” a statement read.