Southwest announced August 21 that they have removed the Boeing 737 MAX 8 (Southwest had 34 of them) from the flight schedule through January 5, 2020. This is an extension from the previously announced November 2.
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.
A statement on the Southwest blog says, “With the timing of the MAX’s return-to-service still uncertain, we are extending the MAX-related flight schedule adjustments through Jan. 5, 2020.”
American Airlines, which also operates the MAX 8 aircraft, has removed the plane from its schedule through November 2, but has not yet extended it beyond that date.
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 January 5, and that you will be notified if your flight is affected.
It sounds like they are going to make 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 timeframe, so it’s definitely worth a look!
How This Affects the Southwest Flight Schedule
The Southwest blog post also stated, “The revision will proactively remove an average of roughly 200 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.”
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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