If you’ve flown with Southwest Airlines recently or have an upcoming flight booked, you may have received correspondence, likely through email, from SVP and Chief Marketing Officer Ryan Green regarding the coronavirus outbreak that is occurring in the U.S. As you know, the coronavirus, or COVID-19, is spreading at an alarming rate which has prompted health officials and the government to make executive decisions such as postponing large events and even closing public schools. They have also issued travel advisories so that you know which places you should consider avoiding.
While health officials are recommending that you reconsider traveling to places where an outbreak is evident, especially those who are at a higher risk of contracting the virus, they are also suggesting that you check the travel advisories if you intend on traveling. If you are going to be flying with Southwest Airlines, here are some of the initiatives employees are taking so that you can feel confident when flying with the airline:
- As of March 4, 2020, Southwest Airlines employees are spending between six to seven hours each night cleaning each and every aircraft.
- Green says that while employees typically use an EPA approved, hospital-grade disinfectant in the lavatories and an interior cleaner in the cabin, they will now be using the hospital-grade disinfectant throughout the aircraft, as well as in the cabin, on elements in the flight deck, and in the lavatory. Green says “this goes beyond the standard CDC guidelines.”
- Each aircraft is equipped with a with a HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filter, which filters out recirculated air onboard each plane to remove airborne particles. Green says HEPA filters are also found in hospitals so that patients are provided with clean air.
If you will be flying with Southwest sometime soon and want to learn more about the airline’s aircraft cleaning procedures, you can visit their blog for an overview. In the correspondence, Green also said “There is no higher priority to our entire Southwest Family than the Safety of our Customers and Employees. We are in close communication with medical professionals, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), government agencies, and internal teams to stay on top of this evolving situation.”
What measures are other airlines taking to protect the people traveling on their aircrafts?
Spirit Airlines is another airline that has sent out correspondence to those who have or will be traveling with the airline. In the email, Spirit Airlines CEO Ted Christie has highlighted some of the measures his employees are now taking to help passengers feel more at ease when traveling despite the coronavirus outbreak. Now, because many individuals have become leery about scheduling flights as they don’t know which area will be affected by the coronavirus next, many airlines are offering customers more flexibility with scheduling, including waiving fees should they need to modify their travel dates.
In the event you will be traveling in the near future, don’t forget to implement the tips the CDC has provided that can help prevent the spread of viruses and other harmful bacteria. And if you are planning to schedule a costly trip, perhaps you might look into getting traveler’s insurance to protect your purchase. When looking for an insurance company, remember, not all are created equal as some will promise you protection and refuse to pay your claim later on should you need to file one.