Southwest Airlines has just taken one of the most drastic measures of any airline when it comes to limiting onboard service in light of COVID-19.
Southwest Airlines suspending all inflight service
Per a memo from Southwest, the airline will stop all food and drink service as of Wednesday:
Effective Wednesday, March 25, our beverage and snack service will be temporarily eliminated on ALL flights. This change will further support limiting direct Customer touchpoints allowing you to focus on good hand hygiene and any added trash service for the disposal of used cleaning wipes, tissues, or other disposable items.
This new policy will apply indefinitely, though passengers can still ask for canned water if they’d like.
Just last week the airline updated their policy to stop service on very short flights (of under 250 miles), but now this applies even on transcontinental flights, as well as flights to Hawaii.
I fully support this policy
Personally I’m fully supportive of this decision on the part of Southwest Airlines. Studies have shown that flight attendants are at among the highest risk of any profession of getting COVID-19, after healthcare workers, dentists, and paramedics.
It’s almost impossible to social distance on a plane, and for everyone’s safety it makes sense to limit service:
- This makes sense for the safety of the flight attendants, who are potentially interacting with hundreds of people who are already at increased risk of getting COVID-19
- It also makes sense for the safety of passengers, since flight attendants are at such high risk of getting COVID-19, and in turn could be interacting closely with passengers while being asymptomatic
I’m actually surprised we haven’t seen more airlines adopt similar policies.
Southwest Airlines has become the first major US airline to cut inflight service, and I’m sure they won’t be the last. This is the right thing to do, plain and simple. Flight attendants are at high risk, and this is a small thing that can be done to keep everyone a bit safer.
Of course it’s maybe a different story for ultra long haul flights, but everyone should be fine on flights of no longer than five to six hours without service (with most flights being significantly shorter than that).
Do you think we’ll see more airlines cut inflight service altogether?
(Tip of the hat to Points, Miles & Martinis)