On Wednesday, March 13, the Federal Aviation Administration issued an order temporarily grounding all Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft operating in the U.S. or operated by U.S. airlines.
Southwest Airlines currently has 34 MAX 8 aircraft, which are affected by this order; however, Southwest has more than 750 planes, making this less than 5% of their fleet. Hopefully, this means it will have a small impact.
All Southwest flights on the MAX 8 have been cancelled.
Here are some questions and answers about what to do if your flight is affected by this grounding.
How Will I Know If My Southwest Flight Is Cancelled?
If your flight was on a MAX 8 aircraft, Southwest will notify you in the way you indicated when you booked your flight: by email, text or phone. You can also check their Flight Status Tool to see if your flight is affected.
If you want to see if you were or are scheduled to fly the MAX 8 in the future, I explain how to do that in this post:
How Do I Rebook My Southwest Airlines MAX 8 Flight?
If your flight in cancelled and you originally booked it via your mobile device or online, you can go to Southwest.com and rebook within 14 days of your original departure date and between the same two cities with no fees or change in fare price.
To do so, you can go directly to this Change Flight page or alternately, you can go to Southwest.com and scroll down to where you see Change/Cancel. There you will enter your name and confirmation number to select a new flight.
Lastly, you can navigate to the My Account page (top right of Southwest.com) once you are logged into your Southwest Rapid Rewards account and scroll down to My Trips. You would then click “Change” below the flight you wish to change.
If you booked your flight originally by phone, you will need to call Southwest at 1-800-I-FLY-SWA to change your flight. As of 10 p.m. ET on March 13, they were experiencing high call volume and wait times.
Can I Get a Refund Instead?
Southwest has said they will issue a refund in alignment with the type of ticket you purchased.
If you hold a business fare or Anytime Fare, those are fully refundable. If you hold a Wanna Get Away fare and you booked with cash or credit, you will receive an Unused Fare voucher for the refund amount that must be used within 12 months and must also be used by the same person it was originally connected to. You’ll need to keep the confirmation number, as well, in order to redeem the credit when you’re ready.
Does This Affect Southwest Hawaii Flights?
While Southwest did originally have plans to fly both the 737 MAX 8 AND the 737-800 aircraft to Hawaii, they are currently only authorized to flight the 737-800 to Hawaii. That means Hawaii flights are currently NOT AFFECTED.
Are you affected by this grounding? Let us know in the comments!
Did you know that you can easily bring one person free with you on any Southwest flight? All you have to do is earn the Southwest Companion Pass and I’ll get you started in my free email Cheat Sheet below…