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Southwest Airlines CEO: Disney World Needs to Reopen for Travel to Resume

Southwest Airlines CEO: Disney World Needs to Reopen for Travel to Resume

A lot of industries have taken a hit during the first quarter of 2020, but the travel industry may be among the slowest to recover. Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly is hopeful Disney World and similar tourist destinations will open soon and travel can resume.

Domestic travel in the United States has slowed so much that empty airports are common scenes in 2020. As travel restrictions are lifted and states move to reopen various public spaces, what will airline travel look like in the United States?

My niece waiting to take off from Tampa to Chicago 2 weeks ago

Southwest Airlines CEO, Gary Kelly, offered some thoughts to CNBC yesterday. He says it comes down to both perceived safety in airports and on airplanes and businesses in destination cities reopening.

People will not resume traveling until they feel safe on airplanes. Nor will they resume domestic travel if there isn’t anything to do in the destination city. These statements are common sense but important considerations.

For their part, airlines are implementing new policies, such as requiring passengers to don face masks. Jet Blue announced that passengers would be required to wear masks and Southwest airlines is considering adopting the policy as well.

Southwest Airlines Plane, picture from USA Today

Kelly also said that they are in the process of installing plexiglass partitions at ticketing counters and will encourage distancing when it comes to seating on planes.

As Southwest loyalists like myself know, there are no assigned seats on Southwest planes, but with airplanes not running at full capacity there should be lots of opportunity for social distancing.

Southwest will also be offering “personal protection” kits as well as hand sanitizer and wipes. According to USA Today, it was not clear if the kits would be free or would come with a surcharge.

Southwest will also support federal government measures to implement health checks, which most likely will occur at TSA check points.

My sister’s family goes through airport security at TPA with no other travelers to be seen

Industry analysts predict that it could take 3 to 5 years for the airline industry to recover, with Southwest only filling 6 percent of its seats this April and inching up to 10 percent in May.

Many of our readers fly Southwest Airlines! I had previously written an article on how to earn a Southwest Companion pass! If you have a companion pass (like I do!) the expiration date has been extended through June of 2021!

Do you fly Southwest? Have concerns about flying in a post-Coronavirus world? Let us know in the comments on Facebook and in our friendly Facebook group!

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Friday 1st of May 2020

Give me a disinfectant wipe and I will wear mask on plane if it makes others feel better. I am ready to go as soon as Disney opens. Stop living in fear.


Wednesday 29th of April 2020

I fly SW to Orlando 3x/yr and just had a very disappointing transaction with them. My flights for end of July we’re booked at the end of December. We had nonstop flights from our local airport both ways. I usually check once or twice a month to see if the prices have gone down since they are very good about offering credit for any savings on that. I went on the website yesterday just to see where things were sitting and saw that they are no longer offering any nonstop flights out of my local airport and it changed my July flight without ever notifying me by email. I travel alone with my two sons and we always try to get nonstop flights just for ease and peace of mind. The closest airport that does have nonstop flights is about an hour and 20 minutes away. So now ,if our summer trip does occur, the flights cost me more money, I will have to pay parking for the amount of time we are gone as well as book a hotel for the night before our flight leaves since we have a very early morning flight. So at a time when the airline industry is begging for customers they’ve screwed me out of about $200 and then wonder why they can’t get people back on planes. I expressed my dissatisfaction with them online and they offered to credit the flight price difference but that is minimal compared to the other costs I will now incur.

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