Southwest announced January 16 that they have removed the Boeing 737 MAX 8 (Southwest had 34 of them) from the flight schedule through June 6, 2020. This is an extension from the previously announced April 13.
This is due to the FAA’s continued grounding of the MAX 8 aircraft due to safety issues. A date when they will be allowed back in service has not been announced, and the grounding continues to drag on, affecting several airlines including Southwest and American.
American Airlines, which also operates the MAX 8 aircraft, has ALSO removed the plane from its schedule through June 3.
On December 16, 2019, Boeing announced that it has stopped production of the MAX 8, at least for now. Up to this point, they had continued to build new MAX 8 planes and have 400 aircraft ready for use.
What to Do If You’re Scheduled to Fly a Southwest MAX 8
Southwest says they are currently adjusting the scheduled to remove the MAX 8 from scheduled flights through June 6, and that you will be notified if your flight is affected.
Southwest usually makes alternate flight bookings for you, and thus far, if customers didn’t like the changes, Southwest has allowed them to rebook with no fees or fare differences between the same city pairs or request a refund.
This option has also appeared more generally on the website for those who are rebooking flights, even if not on the MAX 8, during that same time frame, so it’s definitely worth a look!
How This Affects the Southwest Flight Schedule
A statement on Southwest’s page dedicated to MAX 8 updates says, “The revision will proactively remove an average of roughly 300 weekday flights from our schedule out of our total peak-day schedule of more than 4,000 daily flights. We offer our apologies to our customers impacted by this change, and we thank them for their continued patience.”
Note: 300 weekday flights is nearly double what the last delay removed (175 flights).
Southwest also recently axed 15+ nonstop flights from their schedule, beginning early January, and I suspect the MAX 8 grounding and lack of planes contributed.
Stay tuned to Go to Travel Gal for the latest updates on Southwest and the MAX 8 planes.
You can also check this page on Southwest, which has continued updates and FAQs for those affected.
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