Southwest modifies cleaning procedures

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Southwest modifies cleaning procedures
Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Southwest Airlines will no longer clean arm rests, seat belts and air vents between each flight.

Those items will instead be cleaned only overnight, when the carrier conducts a comprehensive cleaning of each aircraft, it said.

Southwest spokesman Brian Parrish said the carrier is making the move so that it can optimize its cleaning tasks as its flight schedule increases. Tray tables and lavatories, Parrish said, are the most high-touch areas on Southwest aircraft. The carrier remains committed to treating every tray table and lavatory between flights.

"All areas are still disinfected as part of our overnight cleaning detail and treated with the electrostatic, anti-microbial spray on a routine basis," he added. 

Southwest also continues to offer sanitizing wipes to customers. 

According to CNN, a memo Southwest sent to flight attendants said that the carrier is returning to its "standard turnaround time" as its schedule evolves.

Parris, though, said that Southwest isn't reducing its cleaning protocol in order to reduce turn times. Instead, the move is necessary for carrier to meet existing schedules. The carrier's increased flight schedule since the spring means it has fewer extra staff per aircraft to handle intensified cleaning protocols.  

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