When I first booked Southwest Airlines for a recent trip, I felt confident. Throughout the Covid crisis, Southwest has been rated as one of the top airlines handling the pandemic.
When Southwest recently announced that they would no longer be keeping middle seats empty, I was pretty bummed. But, Southwest flies direct from my city to Orlando, and I’ve always been a fan of the airline’s no-change fee policy, so we kept our flights and crossed our fingers.
Now that I’ve flown Southwest, I can happily report that the airline is still doing an amazing job, and my experience was wonderful. I would give the overall experience a 9/10, only because they are not keeping middle seats open.
The boarding process was very organized. Instead of lining up in the typical groups of A1-A60, then the B’s and C’s, they called each group by 10 passengers at a time. This allowed for much easier boarding, as you don’t have a huge line pushing behind you. They don’t call the next group until the prior group is settled on the plane.
The plane is cleaned and sterilized between each flight, and it was spotless! I’ve never seen a plane so clean before.
We lucked out with the middle seat issue I was concerned about. Both of our flights had few enough passengers that we were able to sit in our own row.
Masks are required the entire time you are on the flight. We chose to wear N95 masks, and I noticed many passengers wearing N95 masks and face shields. In fact, I did not see anyone try to remove their masks. All of the passengers on both flights were very polite.
Being on a shorter flight, there was no beverage or food service. Halfway through the flight, they did come down the aisle offering ice water or small snack packs. That was it. You were allowed to bring on your own food and drinks, but you cannot drink alcohol that you bring on yourself.
The deplaning process was pretty typical, but I did notice fewer passengers stood up immediately to try to grab their luggage. Passengers would wait until it was less crowded.
Overall, it was a great experience. I would fly Southwest again.