Southwest Airlines has been in constant contact with the FAA and Boeing since the Ethiopian Airlines’ accident Sunday, March 10 and we are complying with the FAA requirement issued Wednesday, March 13, for all U.S. airlines to ground the Boeing 737 MAX 8. Our goal is to continue operating our schedule with every available aircraft in our fleet to meet our Customers’ expectations during the busy spring travel season.
Below are answers to some of our Customers’ most frequently asked questions regarding the 737 MAX 8.
How many 737 MAX 8 aircraft does Southwest operate?
Southwest operates a fleet of more than 750 Boeing 737s, and the 34 737 MAX 8 aircraft account for less than five percent of our daily flights. These 34 aircraft have been removed from service pending additional FAA direction.
How long will the 737 MAX 8 fleet be grounded?
Southwest Airlines is immediately complying with the FAA requirement for all U.S. airlines to ground the Boeing 737 MAX 8. The Safety of our Customers and Employees is our uncompromising priority. While we do not have a definitive timetable for returning the 737 MAX 8 to service at this time, we are in communication with Boeing and the FAA and will not resume 737 MAX 8 operations until authorized by the FAA.
How is Southwest responding to the 737 MAX 8 events?
We have been in constant contact with the FAA and Boeing since Ethiopian Airlines’ accident on March 10. While we remain confident in the 737 MAX 8 after completing more than 88,000 flight hours accrued over 41,000 flights, we support the actions of the FAA and other regulatory agencies and governments across the globe that have asked for further review of the data—including information from the flight data recorder—related to the recent accident involving the 737 MAX 8.
We continue to work with Boeing, the FAA, and our industry partners to ensure we have the most up-to-date information so that we can make the best decisions affecting our People, our Customers, and our Company. Above all else, we have the highest confidence in our talented and highly trained Employees; there is no other organization that knows as much about flying and maintaining the 737 than our airline.
The Safety of our Customers and Employees is our uncompromising priority, and today’s action reflects the commitment to supporting the current investigations and regulatory concerns.
How soon will I know if my upcoming flight has been impacted?
Our goal is to operate our planned schedule with as few cancellations and as minimal an impact to our Customers as possible. With that in mind, our scheduling Team is focused on optimizing the use of all available aircraft in our fleet to meet our Customers’ expectations during the busy spring travel season. As a result, it’s reasonably likely that your flight will operate as scheduled with either a 737-700 or 737-800. We’ll know more as your departure date approaches.
What happens if my 737 MAX 8 flight is cancelled?
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. A Travel Advisory with additional information for Customers will be posted on Southwest.com. Information on the Southwest Airlines Customer Commitment can be found here. Customers who purchased their itinerary via southwest.com or our mobile app are eligible to reschedule their travel plans online or from their mobile device.
Customers who did not purchase a ticket via southwest.com can call 1-800-435-9792 to speak with a Customer Representative.
How will I know if my flight is cancelled or delayed?
In the event of a flight delay or cancellation, Customers are notified via the method selected during booking (phone, email, or text). Customers can proactively track the status of a flight using our Flight Status Tool on Southwest.com.
Can I have a refund if I don’t want to fly?
Tickets cancelled prior to the date of travel are eligible for a refund or the funds will be available for future use consistent with the fare rule and refund procedures specified in Section 4c of the Southwest Airlines Contract of Carriage.
Can I change my reservation to fly on a different aircraft?
At this time, we have complied with the FAA requirement for all U.S. airlines to ground the Boeing 737 MAX 8.
Will this affect my flight to Hawaii?
No, we received ETOPS authorization from the FAA to serve Hawaii with the 737-800, which is not the same aircraft type as the 737 MAX 8.
How can I get in touch with a Customer Service Representative?
Customers can reach Southwest Airlines Customer Service and Support at 1-800-I-FLY-SWA or by reaching out to us on Twitter @Southwestair.
How can I verify my aircraft type?
Instructions for verifying the aircraft type scheduled to operate your flight can be found here.
The Safety Information card in the seatback pocket includes information for the 737 MAX 8. Am I flying on a MAX 8?
All 737 MAX 8 aircraft are temporarily grounded, and you will not be traveling on a MAX 8 aircraft while that grounding is in place. The Safety Information card for the 737-800 and the MAX 8 contains safety information applicable to both types of aircraft. This does not mean that you are on a 737 MAX 8. Here is an example of what the Safety information card looks like: