Southwest Airlines Suspends All Inflight Service

Filed Under: Southwest

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.

Bottom line

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)

  1. Took a Delta Connection flight (Endeavor) yesterday and they are doing this as well. On a 1500 mile flight.

  2. Fine with me.
    Just be glad they are flying.

    (or maybe not, since every flight is draining their bank account)

  3. Just flew a 9AM flight YYZ-YLW on the 22nd in business (5 hr flight). They passed out a plastic box with yoghurt and a muffin to the 5 of us and disappeared. Except for an offer of water at 4 hours they basically stayed up front with the crew from the back.

    I suggest they probably were more at risk from the close contact with the other crew than us.

  4. They’ve convinced me—it’s a bad idea to fly right now. If it’s that bad that they can’t hand me a can of water. I purchased three Southwest roundtrips in April… down to one left and That one is a big, big maybe.. They’re sure convincing me that it’s not safe to fly now.

  5. There should not be any service on flights up to 5 hours. Flights longer than that, there should be only box. I feel sorry for flight attendants that are at so high risk.
    Airlines need to cut back on In-flight service.

  6. They weren’t practicing proper hygiene prior? I would think this is minor in the scope of things.. Ridiculous story.

  7. Hopefully this will not be the new norm, we have seen how things have changed on inflight service over the years yet the ticket prices and fees are high with less service and comfort inflight. Watch and beware bus service will be the new norm in the air!

  8. I dont get this move, except as a cost cutting measure.
    From what we’ve heard so far, the biggest factor is COVID19 spread is close promiximity contact. The amout of effect that surface contact has is minimal compared to proximity, so this will not change anything at all.
    I love southwest, but I think this is just a move to cut costs on their airline logistics, not really about COVID19

  9. I have a flight from Panama City Beach ECP to Baltimore BWI. Is the state of Maryland allowing people in and out ?

  10. Nice time to space seating out. Social distancing Knee room and room to recline would be nice selling point. I notice the Whitehouse briefings are every other seating front to back and side to side.
    Flights are rarely full now right?

  11. An easy way to still provide the service without the contact would be to have boxes of bottled water and prepackaged snacks at the gate. A gloved person could hand those to boarding passengers without contact to the passenger or each other. It’s not that hard…

    But the crazy part is getting on the plane in the first place with 50% recirculated air. While it does pass through HEPA filters, those filters are not 100% effective and no testing has been done [that I’m aware of] to demonstrate if HEPA filters work for this particular virus.

  12. “An easy way to still provide the service without the contact would be to have boxes of bottled water and prepackaged snacks at the gate. A gloved person could hand those to boarding passengers without contact to the passenger or each other. ” – Angela M

    That’s a great idea!!

  13. Safety is absolutely number one for all. However flying is still somewhat about the experience IMO. For me, NO ONE does it better than Southwest. I sure hope they find an alternative to keeping “Tge Experience” alive. I will ONLY fly Southwest because of how good they already are at treating their passengers with exceptional customer service. It’d hate to see them become like every other airline company. If that becomes the norm, I honestly don’t know who I’ll fly?? Please stay safe but also maybe take the wonderful suggestion from above made by Angela M. Thank you

  14. Today I flew from Nashville to Oakland on Southwest and the stewardess at the airport said the airlines would serve water and light snacks. The only snacks and beverages that were served was to the pilots and flight attendants. The front flight attendant 6 cans of ginger ale and watched inflight movies the whole flight. Is this the new southwest? Very disappointed.

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