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Boeing 737 MAX 8 FAQs

Lindsey Employee
Employee

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:

 

Safety Info Card.jpg

 

34 Comments
SWDigits
New Arrival
Thank you for posting this information.
jramat
New Arrival

Lindsey.......I checked my flights and the equipment scheduled is a 737-800 departure and returning on 737-700. Do I understand correctly that when it says "737-800", it is NOT a 737-8MAX? Is the issue only concerning 737-8MAXs'? Even though I've been offered the chance to change flights, why would I if I'm not flying on the MAX equipment? Am I off-base on this and if so, please set me straight. Thanks for the help!!

bec102896
Rising Star

@jramat 

 

the 800 is a different aircraft from the MAX. The issue is only with the MAX jets the 700 and 800 are safe to fly on.

 

hope this helps

Blake

jramat
New Arrival

Sure does, thanks! It was odd that I received the app annoucement giving me the option to change flights at no cost etc. I had checked earlier in the day and saw what equipment was listed/scheduled and didn't think I had an issue. Then the advisory was sent to me with the offer to change and it really confused me.

EatFlyFetc
New Arrival

I’m so frustrated. We’re going on a cruise and I tried to have this resolved before we leave as I fly from SAN to MDW on 3/24 just a few hours after docking.

 

So, yesterday I called SWA and spoke to a customer service rep who moved me onto a flight that wasn’t on a Max 8. We both looked at the plane information and it was not on a Max 8. Tonight however the new flight is now listed as using a Max 8!! Yesterday it absolutely was not!

 

What are the chances that SWA will not cancel but use alternate aircraft? What are the chances if I do nothing I can get home on 3/24?

cbradbaer
New Arrival

I'm not sure if I need to cancel or not.  Th aircraft was a 737 MAX.  The ticket is for my mother flying From HOU to LAS on March 18th on flight #2471.  The return flight is Flight# 1232 on March 21st.  The website doesn't allow me to check status that far in in advance.  

 

How can I tell if the aircraft has been switched out, or if I need to cancel and book her another fight?

Melissachoate74
New Arrival

SWA -please verify for me if my flight Saturday is a Boeing 737-800 aircraft then that is different than 737-8 max that are being cancelled because when I login it says my flight can be adversely affected and I can change for free. I’m booked on flight #5292 Saturday 3/16. I’m asking on here as I’ve been on hold 90 minutes so far with no message about hold time.

kczonie
New Arrival

Good luck trying to reschedule a flight, you have to get a person first. I am so disappointed.

mrspkm
New Arrival

Can you help me?  I am flying out of Tulsa on Saturday, March 23 on flight 5276 to Dallas Lovefield and then to Baltimore my airplane are 737-700.  Do I need to worry about this flight??

Bionicolas47
New Arrival

I am on flight 2921 at the end of April.  It’s is on a max 8.  Do I have to wait until my flight is officially cancelled before I can switch flights for free?

LorrieA
New Arrival

My flight is on a grounded plane but the flight is not showing as cancelled. What does that mean? Is SW going to replace the aircraft and keep the flight? I don't know if I should re-book. BTW, the lack of proactive notification to passengers on affected flights is appalling. American contacted me immediately. The wait time on your CS line is two hours and you don't have a call back feature. I've spent 60 minutes trying to find an answer to this and still have nothing.

kczonie
New Arrival

I just wanted to say Kudos to Velma out of the Phoenix customer service office. She is a rockstar for Southwest. Yesterday was a hotmess for all and after 4+ hours of holding, to try to rebook my grounded Max flight. (I held for two hours and somehow my call got dropped, and then held for an additional 2 hours.)  Velma was an angel and Southwest is so lucky to have emloyees like her. She was genuinely kind and compassionate. She made me feel like she cared about me as a person. I suspect she is this way with every person she helps, all day long.  She asked me why I was traveling and loved my story. I really want to thank Velma and to share with her how much her excellent customer service meant to me. Perhaps one day I can invite her to the wedding. She will know what that meansSmiley Happy 

jramat
New Arrival

hi...for what it's worth......I called last night and, after a 80 minute wait, I spoke "live" to a representative. 700's and 800's are NOT Max8's. So we are fine. The grounding only applies to Max8's. I asked why I got the alert offering the chance to change and he said it was as a courtesy offered to all customers regardless of what equipment is scheduled. Obviously, those on grounded equipment must make the change, but the rest of us can keep what we have. Hope this helps!

mrspkm
New Arrival

Thank you so much that clears up the 700's,,,Thank You! JRAMAT

drmohs
New Arrival

we are flying out to CHS on MArch 25th at 10pm,  our flight is a MAX8..but it is still saying it is NOT cancelled??

I have tried calling but over a 90min wait,  and I can't change online becuse I have a companion fare with me.

Can you please advise?

berarmo
New Arrival

how many of the concerns expressed by pilots about flying the MAX8/9 were from SWA and how did management address those concerns prior to the grounding?

smallen
New Arrival

I am flying out of Dallas Luv on Saturday, Flight 4845 going to San Francisco. It is a 737- 800 plane. My return is Thursday on flight 2401, and it shows the MAX8. The flight doesn't show cancelled as of yet. I have been having a hard time reaching Southwest. Should I go ahead and cancel the return flight and  try and rebook it, or is Southwest trying to find a replacement plane? 

madams
New Arrival

1) How can I "physically" determine a Max 8 by looking both inside or outside?

 

2) Are all of the 737-800's with the "Sky Blue" interior, Max 8's?

Lindsey Employee
Employee

@smallen @madams 

 

All Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft are temporarily grounded. Even if your itinerary shows that it has a MAX 8 scheduled to operate it, you will not be on a 737 MAX 8. 

 

madams
New Arrival

Lindsey, thanks for your response.  I understand the Max 8's are temporarily grounded, however, you didn't answer my question.  I asked:

 

1) How can I "physically" determine a Max 8 by looking both inside or outside?

 

2) Are all of the 737-800's with the "Sky Blue" interior, Max 8's?

 
chopk9md
New Arrival

Just located assigned plane for flight 5022 (Boeing 737-800) departing BWI on 3/17.  Is it recommended that we change reservation?

bec102896
Rising Star

@chopk9md 

 

The 800 series is good to go there is no need to change your flight. The 800 is different than the MAX 

 

hope this helps

Blake 

bohunter60
New Arrival

I am on Flt 2304 leaving from Boise on April 4, arriving in Ft Lauderdale.  My flight has been canceled.  There are 5 people in my family and we are all on that flight.  We are leaving on a cruise the following day.  I am very upset about this.  We cannot change our flights right now without a fee.  Suggestions?

bohunter60
New Arrival

M family and I (5 of us) are booked on flt 2304 out of Boise on 4/4/19.  It looks like that flight has been cancelled.  I have not been able to find out what to do.  I have called sw twice with no answers.  I am very concerned because we leave on a cruise the next day.  Please help!!!

madams
New Arrival

For future reference, I'd like to know the following:

 

1) How can I "physically" determine a Max 8 by looking both inside or outside?

 

2) Are all of the 737-800's with the "Sky Blue" interior, Max 8's?

BrianH
New Arrival

Um, it appears SW deleted my comment, so I'll re-add a condensed version:

1) Why does the mobile app not give the option to see the plane type?

2) As of the grounding of the Max 8's, can we assume the flights that we are able to book are NOT Max 8's?

3) Do red plane icons next to the books (versus the blue plane icons) mean these flights are impacted, even though they were available to be booked after the grounding AND show they are NOT Max 8's?

 

If SW wants us to self-serve via the mobile app or website, then how about making the process clearer and the same between the two methods?

 

whiteknuckles
New Arrival

I called SW. My aircraft showed 737-800  I figured I was good but she clarified that my return flight was the Max 8 although when hovering over Flt # it just said 737-800. Anyone else get that instead of 737 max 8 when looking at their flt #?  I was rebooked on later flt that also says 737-800 so confused

gmladenik
New Arrival

hey! so I was wondering about some clarification:

 

Both of my flights to and from MDW to MCO were listed as 747-800 and only my departure flight out of MDW (flt#1322) got canceled. My return flight is out of MCO (flt#2570) is also listed as a 747-800, but hasn't been canceled because it is not a max??? 

 

And now other comments are telling me a 747-800 is not even the MAX 8. Just wondering some clarification and if I should change my return flight (again flt#2570 out of MCO) to a different make/model. Also, why am I not seeing any distinction between these two flights? If my departure was a MAX 8 shouldn't it reflect that?

 

Thanks!

madams
New Arrival

For future reference, I'd like to know the following:

 

1) How can I "physically" determine a Max 8 by looking both inside or outside?

 

2) Are all of the 737-800's with the "Sky Blue" interior, Max 8's?

SWDigits
New Arrival
EDITED AS MY ORIGINAL POST WAS WRONG @madams Apologies as my original reply to you was wrong, see this article:
https://www.usatoday.com/story/todayinthesky/2014/04/10/southwest-flies-first-737-with-new-split-sci...
madams
New Arrival

@SWDigits 

 

Thanks for your description on the winglets.  Sorry, but I have one other question based on your answer.  Yes, I know there are 737-700's, 737-800's, and 737-Max 8's.  Do all three of these models have the "Sky Blue" interior's on SWA?  Thanks!

SWDigits
New Arrival
@madams, "The interior of the 737 MAX won’t look different to anyone who has flown on a Southwest 737-800, as the “Heart Cabin” – originally designed for the MAX – ended up debuting on the -800 in May 2016."

Source:
https://airwaysmag.com/airlines/america-say-hello-max-southwest-airlines/

Based on my corrected post above your original question still stands. Sorry!
garyfly60
New Arrival

I read -- it makes sense to me -- that the MACS system to prevent stalls malfunctioned, but pilots who said the bigger problem was lack of training and lack of awareness of how to hit a switch to turn it off.  They didn't blame Boeing so much for flaky software but for not highlighting this and not emphasizing the importance of knowing how to turn it off and fly manually.

 

Like self-driving cars are one thing, but imagine one with ability to take over the steering wheel or slow down removed ... or hidden. 

 

I get a mild version of that with rental cars that put windshield wiper switch and fuel door button in odd locations.

mlukmani
New Arrival

Just sorry that SW lost the opputunity to show its real LOVE for customers and ground this plane asap instead of watching the FAA and BOEING for advice. 

 

the LOVE right now is money driven and that is not love. SAD !