United Airlines has extended the cancellation of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft until at least September 3rd. This time customers may feel the pain.
Unlike on American and Southwest, United has successfully reduced the impact of the 737 MAX groundings by reassigning aircraft, even if means capacity upgrades on some routes that ordinarily would be unable to handle such a large plane.
But during the peak summer travel season, when all aircraft are accounted for, making such swaps becomes much more difficult.
Here’s part of a note United share with employees announcing the extension of the 737 MAX suspension:
Since the grounding of the Boeing MAX aircraft in March, United has gone to great lengths to minimize the impact on our customers’ travel plans. We’ve used spare aircraft and other creative solutions to help our customers, who had been scheduled to travel on one of our MAX aircraft, get where they are going. But, it’s harder to make those changes at the peak of the busy summer travel season.
We have decided to pull MAX flights out of our schedule until September 3. During this period, we’ll continue to take extraordinary steps to protect our customers’ travel plans. Moving forward, we’ll continue to monitor the regulatory process and nimbly make the necessary adjustments to our operation and our schedule to benefit our customers who are traveling this summer.
For more than 90 years, the safety of our customers and employees at United has come first, which is why we have cooperated fully with the FAA’s independent review of the MAX aircraft, and we won’t put our customers and employees on that plane until regulators make their own independent assessment that it is safe to do so.
With the latest FAA discovery of a new potential flaw in the updated 737 MAX software, it could be a lot longer than early September before we see this plane in the air again.
Keep an eye on your schedules this weekend. As United loads changes reflecting a fleet without the use of the 737 MAX, you may well see some adjustments.