Southwest works very differently than most other US carriers. Instead of having their flight schedule available 330 days out, they push out their booking window in batches every now and then. As of right now, you can only book Southwest flights through October 1, 2019, but prior to yesterday, they announced that today, March 14th, would be the day that they extended their reservation schedule through November 2, 2019.
Unfortunately though, that extension has been postponed due to the 737 MAX aircrafts being grounded. I believe Southwest is giving themselves sometime to figure out what is actually going on with these aircrafts and to alter the schedule, if needed. As of now, the schedule extension day is March 18th, so only a few days delayed, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we see it postponed again depending on what happens with these aircrafts over the next few days. Southwest operates 34 737 MAX 8 planes which is actually the largest amount compared to the other US carriers (American operates 24 and United 14). This is effectively impacting approximately 200,000 Southwest seats a week, which is pretty huge.
How is this Affecting Hawaii?
Hawaii’s first flight on Southwest is supposed to take off in just a few days on March 17th! Fortunately, all of these flights are scheduled on their 737-800 aircraft, so the flights to Hawaii currently have no impact at all. Phew! Although Southwest does have on order 200+ 737 MAX 8 aircrafts and some with the hopes to use to Hawaii — which will allow them to expand their service and even offer longer distance flights, such as to/from Denver.
With this new schedule announcement, there were rumors flying around that they might add flights to/from Kauai as well as non-stop routes to Kona from California. There was also the chance that two more California airports would be added to the route map for Hawaii, including Dan Diego and Sacramento. I was definitely excited to see what this new schedule announcement would include, but I guess we will have to wait! And while I do not foresee us to see the ridiculously low $49 fares the next time the schedule is extended (for flights to Hawaii from California), I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw some $99 one-way fares. Although double the price, still an amazing price! And remember, you can always use your Southwest Companion Pass to have another passenger fly with you for FREE!
As of now, the schedule extension should be March 18th, so if you are planning on booking a flight for the month of October (or actually through November 2nd), I suggest being on your computer by 6:15am EST to book those peak flights, such as flights around Columbus Day weekend and flights to Hawaii. Southwest doesn’t have a set time on when the schedule is released and I’ve seen it as early as 6am EST and as late as 9am EST, so just being available and continuously refreshing your screen in your best chance of scoring a cheap fare, especially since Southwest has no change/cancelation fees. With that being said, that date could still get extended and I’ll be sure to let you all know if that does in fact happen.
- Southwest Business Credit Card — Earn 60,000 points after you spend $3,000 on the card ($99 annual fee)
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card — Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on the card ($149 annual fee)
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card— Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on the card ($99 annual fee)
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card — Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on the card ($69 annual fee)
- Southwest Business Credit Card — Earn 60,000 points after you spend $3,000 on the card
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