Southwest Airlines no longer cleans armrests, seat belts between flights

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Southwest Airlines no longer disinfects armrests between flights as it begins to revert to a more normal schedule.

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As of August 1, Southwest changed its policy of disinfection between flights to focus on bathrooms and tray tables, forgoing seat belts and armrests, which will now be cleaned overnight as part of its “six to seven hour” deep clean.

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The policy change has been to prioritize the hard hit areas while minimizing turnaround times.

In an email to Fox News, the leading carrier explained its “multi-layered approach to cleaning,” which includes using a broad-spectrum disinfectant to clean toilets and trays at each seat between each flight. (iStock)

“These are the most important areas to clean between each flight as they are prone to contamination from guest use and food / drink consumption,” read a memo shared with USA Today.

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In an email to Fox News, the leading carrier explained its “multi-layered approach to cleaning,” which includes using a broad-spectrum disinfectant to clean toilets and trays at each seat between each flight. Airplanes also undergo electrostatic cleaning once a month, which kills bacteria for 30 days.

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While passengers are allowed to clean their own area, the airline will provide disinfectant wipes to customers upon request, as well as hand sanitizer at check-in and ticket counters.

Southwest has also pledged to keep middle seats empty until at least October to better enable social distancing.

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As always, Southwest will be monitoring customer and employee feedback as we adapt to the new standard of air travel, while ensuring that safety is our top priority, ”a statement said.

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