If you’ve been paying any attention to the news lately, you are probably already aware of the unfortunate Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crash over this past weekend. It was on a Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft and now many folks are questing the safety of this particular aircraft. While many airlines have decided to ground those aircrafts, Southwest stands by their safety and states that they’ll still be flying. If you want coverage on which airlines have grounded the, One Mile at a Time has a compiled list.
Although Southwest has taken the stance to not ground those planes, they are allowing their passengers to change their flights, without an additional charge. Although Southwest does not charge any change/cancelation fees, if you do look to change your flight, generally speaking you’ll have to pay the fare difference, and based on when you booked your flight that number could be extremely high. But with the current situation, Southwest has stated:
“We don’t charge change fees, and any fare differences that would normally be charged would be waived in this situation,”
This means you can change your current flight to any other flight without being charged the increased fare difference. This is extremely fair in my opinion. As of right now you flights booked through March 18th can be changed. UPDATE: Southwest recently extended this so affected flights booked through March 31st can be changed.
Checking Your Aircraft Type
If you want to know which aircraft your upcoming flight will be flying, you can do this by making a mock booking for your exact same flight on Southwest.com. Click on the flight number and a pop up window will appear with flight info. Down at the bottom it will show you the “aircraft type”. If it states “Boeing 737MAX8” that is in fact the aircraft that is being questioned. Keep in mind that there are a few different 737 aircrafts, so if they do not say “MAX8” you are in the clear.
Changing Your Reservation
Southwest is making it incredibly simple to change your reservation online. In your account, find your reservation and click on “Change Itinerary”. If your flight is in fact flying the Boeing 737 MAX 8, you’ll see a notice at the top of your reservation letting you know that you can change your trip at no extra cost. As of right now, it seems like all reservations affected can be changed through March 27, 2019. This will allow you to pick any itinerary you want, even if the flight is typically less expensive. The only requirement is that your destination and arrival airports must stay within the same city pairs. For example, if your original flight is out of BWI, you can instead pick Washington DC or Dulles as your departure city, again at no extra cost.
Once you “Accept & Continue” the notice, you’ll then be able to select your desired flight. You’ll see that you will not pay any extra fare price, but the airline does have to be selling seats in your fare bucket. This means if you purchased a “Wanna Getaway” fare but your new desired itinerary doesn’t have any seats left for sale in that fare bucket, you will not be able to change your itinerary to that flight.
For those who are familiar with changing a Southwest flight when there is a weather issue, it works the exact same way.
I am not going to give my opinion on whether or not Southwest should be grounding their 787 MAX 8 aircrafts as I am no where near qualified enough to make that decision. But, I am happy that they are allowing passengers to make a decision that they are comfortable with and not charging them a fare increase.
Will you be changing your aircraft?