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Southwest Airlines Ditching Social Distancing and Reverting to Pre-Pandemic Boarding

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Southwest airlines

Southwest Airlines has reverted to its pre-pandemic boarding procedures. The airlines reportedly ditched boarding passengers in smaller groups to promote social distancing.

On March 15, Southwest Airlines started boarding passengers in groups of 30. Since the pandemic started, the airline implemented its “Southwest Promise” health and safety protocols. This involves boarding passengers in groups of 10 to promote social distancing. Southwest Airlines spokesperson Brandy King said that passengers have an “expectation for the normal boarding process”.

Southwest Airlines Not The Only One Doing Prepandemic Boarding

The largest US domestic carrier is not the first airline to use pre-pandemic boarding. Earlier this month, JetBlue stopped boarding passengers from back to front. Instead, it used its conventional boarding procedures.

JetBlue’s spokesperson Derek Dombrowski assured that they “work within public health guidelines”. He also announced that they are working with medical experts to ensure that JetBlue is doing what it can to “keep our customers and crew members safe”.

United and Delta still have their pandemic boarding procedure. On the other hand, American Airlines never switched their boarding procedures. Among changes include blocking the middle seats. On December 1, Southwest stopped this protocol and allowed passengers to take the middle seat.

Alternative Solutions

Social distancing has been a problem by airlines since the pandemic started. It’s a common sight to see crowds gathering at the check-in despite reminders to maintain social distancing. If you’re worried about non-adherence to social distancing, private jets are now offering domestic flights at a bargain.

This alternative is offered by companies like JSX that only cater to a limited number of passengers. They also claim that passengers only need 20 minutes from the curb to their seats taking out long crowded lines at the airport.

The airline industry was greatly affected by the pandemic. The entire industry experienced billions in losses. As more people get vaccinated, some groups are already urging the government to ease its travel restrictions. The TSA recorded straight days exceeding 1 million passengers. That’s despite CDC’s warning against leisure travel.

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