Southwest Has Suspended 13 Routes Since Grounding of Boeing 737 MAX

Jul 2, 2019

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.

Since the Boeing 737 MAX was first taken out of service in the spring, Southwest has had to temporarily suspend more than a dozen nonstop routes as it grapples with the ongoing grounding of the plane.

Flight schedule data from Diio by Cirium shows that the low-cost giant has dropped at least 13 nonstop routes since the plane was grounded in March, and Southwest confirmed to TPG that the routes have been suspended as a result of the MAX situation.

With 34 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in its fleet, Southwest is the plane’s largest operator in the US.  The jets are grounded worldwide as Boeing works to address software issues suspected of contributing to two fatal crashes.

Southwest, similar to other carriers that fly the jet, has had to reduce its daily schedule by more than a hundred flights a day as it tries to account for the unexpected grounding of nearly three dozen of its planes.  Some routes have been suspended altogether to allow the company to maintain its schedule.

Related: American Airlines Suspends First Route Due to Boeing 737 MAX Grounding

The broader issue came to light on Monday, when American revealed it would temporarily suspend one of its two routes to Oakland. That route — American’s once-daily flight to Dallas/Fort Worth —  marked the first route the airline has had to put on hiatus because of the three-month-long grounding.

Southwest has had a different experience. Since it runs more point-to-point flights than hub-and-spoke carriers like American and United, it has a higher number of lower-frequency nonstop routes that are vulnerable to changes from the 737 MAX grounding.

On Tuesday, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported on one of those routes, Southwest’s service between Pittsburgh (PIT) and Los Angeles (LAX), which has temporarily been put on hold until the MAX is again cleared for takeoff.

TPG decided to take a closer look, and — based on flight schedule data from Diio by Cirium — discovered that 12 other Southwest routes have been suspended in the months since the MAXes were first grounded.

The suspended routes were not necessarily scheduled to be operated with Southwest’s 737 MAXes. Instead, it’s possible that Southwest used other 737 variants on those routes, but opted to pull them off to fill in the gaps created by the MAX elsewhere in its network.

The routes that are temporarily off Southwest’s schedule are:

  • Albany, New York (ALB) – Denver (DEN)
  • Austin (AUS) – San Francisco (SFO)
  • Boston (BOS) – Atlanta (ATL)
  • Boston (BOS) – Kansas City (MCI)
  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Tampa, Florida (TPA)
  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Pittsburgh (PIT)
  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Omaha, Nebraska (OMA)
  • Oakland, California (OAK) – Newark, N.J., (EWR)
  • Oakland, California (OAK) – Indianapolis (IND)
  • Oakland, California (OAK) – Minneapolis/St. Paul (MSP)
  • Oakland, California (OAK) – San Antonio (SAT)
  • San Antonio (SAT) – Orlando, Florida (MCO)
  • Birmingham, Alabama (BHM) – Las Vegas (LAS)

Source: Diio by Cirium, Southwest Airlines

Contributing: Edward Russell, TPG.

Featured photo by Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

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.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • 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
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.