What is the current policy concerning eating on domestic (US) flights on Southwest Airlines? (Obviously, one cannot wear a mask continually while eating.)

Thank you.

1 Answer 1


From Southwest's FAQ—When the Federal law requires Customers to wear a mask (emphasis added):

Customers will be required to wear a mask over their nose and mouth at all times during their Southwest travel experience—while checking in, boarding, while in flight, deplaning, retrieving baggage; and any other time they may engage with a Southwest Employee or another Customer. Customers are required to wear a mask in order to board the plane.

The following are times when a Customer may need to briefly remove their mask:

When necessary for identity verification purposes such as during Transportation Security Administration screening or when asked to do so by our Employees or any law enforcement official

While eating, drinking, or taking oral medications. Prolonged periods of mask removal are not permitted for eating or drinking; the mask must be worn between bites and sips.

While communicating with a person who is hearing impaired when the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication

If, on an aircraft, wearing of oxygen masks is needed because of loss of cabin pressure or other event affecting aircraft ventilation

If unconscious (for reasons other than sleeping), incapacitated, unable to be awakened, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance

  • 2
    I've flown domestically in the US back in January and can definitely say that mask usage is not enforced "between bites and sips". They enforce masks before takeoff and before landing but otherwise many people just wear them on their chin/nose the whole flight.
    – JonathanReez
    Commented Apr 2, 2021 at 18:14
  • 2
    I presume that the "between bites and sips" language is intended to mirror the federal order, which says masks need not be worn "While eating, drinking, or taking medication, for brief periods" to avoid the "I'm nursing this cup of coffee for two hours" problem. Commented Apr 2, 2021 at 18:20

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