Saying that its schedule is “evolving” and that it needs to return to normal turnaround times in between flights, Southwest Airlines has reduced the amount of cleaning it has been doing since adding new protocols in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The story was first reported by the aviation blog One Mile at a Time.
The cleaning protocols were changed on August 1.
Instead of a more in-depth cleaning, as most airlines have been doing since late March, Southwest is now cleaning only tray tables and lavatories between flights, rather than all surfaces.
It is an interesting departure given that most airlines are staying with, if not increasing, their cleaning protocols.
The airline said tray tables and lavatories are the two areas on an aircraft most prone to carry the coronavirus germs. Enhanced cleaning will take place overnight; the deep cleaning electrostatic spray will now happen once a month.
According to One Mile at a Time, one gate agent will board the aircraft as soon as the flight arrives and the door is opened. During passenger deplaning, flight attendants should follow their standard procedures to tidy the aircraft, which includes crossing seatbelts, picking up trash, and opening all overhead bins. The agent will follow the flight attendants as they tidy and will clean the top, bottom, and latch of each tray table.
At provisioning station locations, the provisioning agent will clean the lavatories, while at all other stations the agent will perform that work.
The airline will continue to block middle seats though.
Southwest did not yet return a request for comment at the time of publication.
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