Southwest Reducing COVID-19 Airplane Cleaning – Airlines around the world are facing a difficult juggling act: how do you reduce the risks posed by COVID-19 while keeping costs down in a notoriously low-margin industry? As flight schedules begin to increase once more, Southwest Airlines is taking the decision to reduce its pandemic cleaning routines to minimize turnaround times and financial losses.

The news comes from an internal memo sent to Southwest staff and obtained by USA Today, which says that armrests and seat belts will no longer be cleaned between each flights, and that attendants are to instead focus on high-touch areas like toilets and tray tables. “These are the most important areas to clean between each flight as they are prone to contamination from Customer use and food/beverage consumption,” says the memo.

However, the company stressed that it will still clean its planes nose to tail overnight for six to seven hours at a time, as well as performing a monthly electrostatic cleaning process that it claims creates an “anti-microbial coating” on all surfaces that lasts for 30 days.

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