Southwest Joins AA, US Carriers With Face Mask Requirement

Southwest Airlines Plane
NBC 5 News

Southwest Airlines is joining the list of U.S. carriers requiring passengers to cover their faces during flights, the Dallas-based airline announced Friday.

Passengers will be required to wear face coverings on all Southwest flights beginning May 11. Face masks will be provided by flight crews for those who don't have one, Southwest said in a news release.

Southwest employees who interact with customers directly will be required to wear masks by May 3.

In addition to masks, the airlines said it will begin limiting the number of passengers seated in the cabin in order to promote social distancing. The temporary measure begins May 2.

The airline says it's introducing new cleaning protocols in between flights, and flight attendants will be providing sanitizing wipes for passengers who want to wipe their seats. Aircraft interior surfaces are disinfected nightly, the release said.

Flight attendants have also stopped giving out drinks and snacks during the flight.

This week, JetBlue became the first U.S. airline to announce it will require passengers to wear face coverings during flights. Fort Worth-based American Airlines began a similar protocol soon after.

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