As if airplane travel isn’t stressful enough (especially if you’re traveling with your kiddos), it looks like there are going to be even more flight cancellations over the next few months. In March of this year, the Boeing 737 Max was grounded worldwide following two deadly crashes that occured within five months of each other. Southwest Airlines, the largest airline carrier of the jet, is expecting the 737 Max to be out of commission past October, according to an internal memo to Southwest employees.
“I’m sure this will cause us to have to take the MAX out of the schedule beyond Oct. 1,” CNBC reports Chief Executive Gary Kelly said in an internal update. Kelly also added that the airline would need to see “what other modifications we might need to make our plans for this year because it’s obviously extending well beyond what I had hoped.”
After U.S. aviation regulators discovered a new software issue with the Boeing 737 Max, Southwest announced last week that the airline expects to cancel around 150 flights per day until September 1. Kelly’s new memo extends this estimate at least a month longer, but potentially into the fall. For travelers, this simply means that the jet will be out of commission a bit longer, until engineers can resolve the issue. Kelly did not expand on what exactly these software problems are, but flyers can expect the average cancellation rate to remain the same for the foreseeable future.
Southwest Airlines is the largest operator of Boeing 737s in the U.S., with 34 aircrafts in its fleet. American Airlines Group and United Airlines Holdings are the other two U.S. carriers that operate the 737 Max, have also removed the jet until early September of this year.
So if you’re in the midst of booking any important summer travel, maybe give Delta a try.