It has been a few months, but back in March all 737 MAX 8 aircrafts were pulled out of the sky. On the domestic front, this affected affected American, United and Southwest. Out of the three airlines, however, Southwest has been hit the hardest due to the sheer number of these aircrafts in their fleet. While Southwest unfortunately didn’t handle the situation quiet well at the beginning, due to last minute cancellations, more recently they have been proactive in canceling their flights months out at a time.
Back in April, they announced that they were going to adjust their schedule and cancel all fights scheduled to fly the 737 MAX through August 5th. Then in June they adjusted their schedule to cancel all flights through Sept. 2nd and October 1st. Now, they are adjusting their service again to November 2nd.
While it is unfortunate to see a flight canceled or changed months out in advance, this is giving customers enough notice to rebook their flights on Southwest or another airline if needed. We are mid-summer and there still is no definitive answer on when the aircrafts will be back in the air. Many are saying late 2019 or even 2020. My best guess is on 2020, so I appreciate that Southwest is being proactive. Through November 2nd, any flights that currently has the 737 MAX aircraft scheduled will either have an aircraft swap or will face the flight being canceled. Southwest suggests that this will affect about 180 daily flights (out of more than 4,000 flights per day).
All customers who are affected will be notified by Southwest and will be given on of two options: 1) Opportunity to switch to another Southwest flight within 14 days from their scheduled flight (either 14 days beforehand or 14 days afterwards). Customers will not have to pay a fare difference, there just has to be a seat available; or 2) Cancel their reservation.
If you have a Southwest flight booked between Aug. 5 and Nov. 2, I would absolutely recommend double checking on your flight to see if it is one of the flights affected. If so, make sure to call up Southwest immediately to figure out another flight that works for you and your family.