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Southwest Airlines says it will continue to block middle seats through October

Southwest will continue to promote social distancing during COVID-19 pandemic

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In this Sept. 9, 2019, file photo a Southwest plane departs Tampa International Airport in Tampa, Fla.

In this Sept. 9, 2019, file photo, a Southwest plane departs Tampa International Airport in Tampa, Fla.

Associated Press

Southwest Airlines said Thursday it plans to continue its social distancing policy through October amid the coronavirus pandemic.

  • “We feel extreme gratitude for those who are serving on the frontlines of this pandemic. And from our own frontlines to our back offices, we share an immense pride in the service we’re providing to Southwest Customers for whom travel is essential right now,” Gary Kelly, Southwest Chairman and CEO said. “Our sense of responsibility cannot be understated. In the future, we are committed to reconnecting our Customers to people and places they love. So, as we warmly await their return, we add the Southwest Promise to a nearly 50-year commitment of unmatched Hospitality and an unwavering focus on Safety.”

What’s happening:

Southwest said it will limit number of seats sold for each flight amid the pandemic, per USA Today.

  • The airline does not assign seats.
  • The policy allows people to pick their own seats, socially distancing along the way.
  • The company originally said it would block seats through Sept. 30.
  • Southwest said: “Customer feedback has been very positive.”

Southwest Airlines has also added new measures to make sure that travelers wear face masks while on their planes, as I wrote about for Deseret.com. Southwest Airlines said:

  • “Our policy of denying boarding prior to travel is designed to ensure anyone uncomfortable with wearing a face covering or mask does not board a Southwest aircraft.”
  • “Although Southwest is not denying boarding based solely upon a customer not wearing a mask, we are providing masks and strongly encouraging customers comply with the policy out of respect for the well-being of other customers and our employees during these unprecedented times.”