What Travelers Need to Know About Southwest’s Plans to Ground the 737 MAX All Summer
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.
Southwest Airlines has modified its schedule yet again to account for the imperiled 737 MAX now potentially grounded into August. That means that Southwest, the US carrier with the most MAX planes in its fleet (34 of the jet variants), now estimates that the plane will be grounded through the peak summer travel season.
Although the airline has said that with the extension it can build its MAX-less schedule “well in advance in hopes to minimize the daily disruptions,” this change will no doubt leave some travelers in a lurch. The airline has a fleet of more than 700 airplanes in total, so it’s able to take up some of the slack, but 34 grounded jets during the peak travel season is no small problem for any airline, even a giant one.
The truth is Southwest is having to get creative with how it uses its remaining planes — which means deciding to cancel some flights preemptively, to the tune of approximately 90 flights per day.
For passengers affected by the latest schedule changes, Southwest said that, “Any Customer booked on a cancelled 737 MAX 8 flight can rebook on alternate flights without any additional fees or fare differences between the original city pairs.” Customers who did not purchase their ticket via southwest.com can call 1-800-435-9792 to speak with a customer representative. (For more info, customers can check out the Travel Advisory posted on the airline’s website.)
Recently, Southwest has also taken measures to improve communication with customers through a Live Chat setting on their mobile app. The feature is currently still in its beta phase and is only being offered to a limited number of users. In order to gain access, you must be a Rapid Rewards Member, logged into the latest version of the Southwest Mobile App (version 6.1.0 or newer) and then selected at random to connect to Live Chat.
Boeing 737 MAX planes have been grounded around the world after the fatal crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302, in which all 157 people on board the MAX 8 plane died on March 10. That crash closely mirrored another fatal accident on a MAX 8 jet, a Lion Air flight in Indonesia just five months earlier that killed all 189 people on board. Investigators noted an automated system on the plane activated before both crashes.
For the latest travel news, deals and points and miles tips please subscribe to The Points Guy daily email newsletter.
Photo credit MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images
WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.