Here’s what the 737 MAX groundings mean for your holiday travel
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
With the plan to return the Boeing 737 MAX to global service on an uncertain timeline, U.S. operators (American, Southwest and United) have extended the plane’s absence from their schedules into January.
That means that the airplane will functionally be grounded on U.S. domestic flights through the busy holiday travel season. All three airlines have said that they expect disruptions to their schedules to be minimal — announcing the cancellation months in advance as they have, means that they should be able to reaccommodate most travelers whose flights will be affected.
Here’s what to expect if you were scheduled to fly over the river and (presumably) over the woods to grandmother’s house for Christmas:
In sum: If you’re booked on a flight before Jan. 7 that was supposed to be operated by a MAX, another aircraft will simply take over the service. Most flights from Jan. 7 through the 15th will also use a substitute aircraft, though a few flights may be canceled. For those customers, the AA reservations team will start reaching out starting Sunday, Oct. 13.
After the 16th, American may continue making minor schedule tweaks as the MAX returns to service. Reservations agents will reach out to any affected customers.
Southwest Airlines is scheduled to return its MAXes to service on Jan. 6, but still expects an average of 200 cancellations on peak days in the meantime, when the airline operates around 4,000 flights.
The company said it has already been in touch with passengers whose itineraries are affected and has been able to rebook a majority of those passengers. It has also offered flexibility for passengers to alter their travel plans.
United Airlines is also planning to reintroduce its MAXes to service on Jan. 6. The airline said it expects to cancel about 75 flights per day in December and 56 flights per day for the affected portion of January. The airline said it is working to rebook the majority of affected passengers. For those it is unable to rebook, it is reaching out to discuss alternatives.
Though the overall odds of being affected by the latest update are small, customers booked to fly during the holidays would be wise to reconfirm their itineraries on the carrier’s app or website.
Once the MAX does return to service, United, American and Southwest have all indicated that they will allow passengers to switch to other flights if they are nervous about flying on the MAX.
Featured photo by Jason Redmond/AFP/Getty Images.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
- Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at US restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
- Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees