I flew on Southwest Airlines during the pandemic and came away impressed by how well the largest low-cost US airline handed social distancing


Southwest Airlines is primed to recover quicker than its competitors since the airline focuses on domestic service with a passenger-friendly low-cost business model.
Despite being a low-cost airline, Southwest is limiting capacity by around a third which means only two people maximum can sit in a row, leaving the middle seat unoccupied.
I flew on the airline to see how its seemingly-generous policies translated into a real-world experience and was impressed with how the airline is handling this crisis.
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As the coronavirus pandemic continues to keep international borders closed to Americans, domestic airlines in the US are slated to recover quicker than international airlines that rely on sales of premium seats on long-haul flights.

Southwest Airlines is the largest low-cost airline in the US primarily focused on domestic leisure travel with a sterling reputation among passengers, making it prime for a speedy recovery. Despite its low-cost status, the airline still offers plenty of full-service amenities including free checked bags, complimentary drinks and snacks, and free flight changes.

Implementing what it calls the “Southwest Promise,” the airline is limiting bookings on every flight by around one-third in order to have a maximum of two people per row. Southwest follows a policy of open seating so seats aren’t selected in advance.

I flew on Southwest last week to see how the airline’s generous social distancing policies played out in the real world. Flying from New York to Orlando via Nashville, I experienced two flights on the low-cost airline and its fleet of Boeing 737 aircraft.

Here’s what I found.

SEE ALSO: American will start filling planes after doing the least of big US airlines to protect passengers. Here’s what it was like to fly the airline during the pandemic.

DON’T MISS: Only 20 of the 25 busiest airports in the US require passengers to wear masks — see the full rundown

My journey to Orlando started on Southwest Airlines from the new LaGuardia Airport Terminal B, from where I’d first fly to Nashville.

Southwest and LaGuardia Airport both require face coverings so I was masked up from the moment I got to the terminal.

Before I even arrived at the airport, I had to acknowledge this health declaration. A longer version on the website tells passengers “do not travel if you have a fever.”

Here’s the new Southwest check-in counter at LaGuardia Airport with no shortage of self-serve check-in kiosks.

The terminal had just opened less than two weeks prior to this trip and safety features such as plexiglass partitions at check-in and the gates had come standard. Every airline, including United and Southwest, had these partitions.

Read More: I visited the newly opened LaGuardia terminal and saw how it has turned the infamous airport into one of the best in the US

I quickly scanned my mobile boarding pass to get a paper copy. The airport had positioned wipe stations right next to the kiosks.

My journey was a simple one-stop flight to Orlando, making for an easy morning of flying.

Everything …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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