Travel insights from Andrea Sedlacek, editor of The Compass

Southwest Updates and Clarifies Face Covering Policy

Southwest Airlines recently announced an update and a clarification to their face covering policy.

As of July 27, all passengers on Southwest flights will be required to wear a face covering. The airline made the announcement in a July 22 press release: “Effective July 27, due to the safety risk of COVID-19 transmission by individuals not wearing a face covering, Southwest will require that all Southwest Customers wear a face covering or mask over their nose and mouth, and there will be no exemptions to our face covering requirement, except for children under the age of two.” This update is part of the Southwest Promise, a health and safety program designed by the airline and enacted in May 2020 to “offer confidence and comfort throughout every journey.”

On August 7, Southwest issued a clarification to their face covering policy based on feedback and observations. The clarification describes acceptable face coverings as “a well-secured cloth or mask that fits snugly against the face, covers an individual’s nose and mouth, and is secured under the chin will be accepted.” And to further remove any doubt, Southwest lists unacceptable face coverings that passengers will not be allowed to wear onboard:

  • Face coverings with holes in the covering, including those with exhaust valves or those made solely of materials like mesh or lace fabrics
  • Face coverings that cannot be secured under the chin, including bandanas and face shields
  • Face shields may be worn in addition to face coverings but not in place of face coverings or masks.
  • Neck gaiters (also called multi-bands) may be worn as face coverings so long as they cover the nose and mouth and are secured under the chin.

As originally promised, any passengers who forget their mask will have them available upon request.

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Joanne D | 08/25/20 - 09:12 PM

That's ridiculous! These masks are better than anything else. They are N95 rated and include filters that protect the person wearing it as much as the people around them.

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