Tag Archives: Southwest Airlines

Southwest extends the Boeing 737 MAX grounding until November 2, partners with Nintendo

Southwest Airlines has made this announcement:

Southwest Airlines continues to monitor information from Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on the impending 737 MAX software enhancements and training requirements. We remain confident that, once certified by the FAA, the enhancements will support the safe operation of the MAX.

We previously revised our flight schedule by removing the MAX through October 1 to offer reliability to our operation and stability for our Customers. With the timing of the MAX’s return-to-service still uncertain, we are again revising our plans to remove the MAX from our schedule through November 2.

By proactively removing the MAX from scheduled service, we can reduce last-minute flight cancellations and unexpected disruptions to our Customers’ travel plans. The limited number of Customers who have already booked their travel and will be affected by our amended schedule are being notified of their re-accommodated travel according to our flexible accommodation procedures. The revision will proactively remove roughly 180 daily flights from our schedule out of our total peak-day schedule of more than 4,000 daily flights.

We offer our apologies to our Customers impacted by this change, and we thank them for their continued patience.

In other news, is celebrating a summer of surprises with the ultimate travel companion: Nintendo Switch. The partnership will come to life for Southwest Customers and Nintendo fans through a variety of ways, including the Let’s Play Getaway 30 days of giveaways sweepstakes* for a chance for one lucky winner to win a Nintendo Switch system and a download code for the digital version of the Super Mario Maker 2game each day between July 15 and August 13. The sweepstakes will culminate with one grand prize of roundtrip air travel for a winner and three guests, in addition to four Nintendo Switch systems and download codes for the digital version of the Super Mario Maker 2 game.

The partnership kicked off today for Customers on Southwest Flight 2246 from Dallas to San Diego, a city that is hosting one of the biggest comic convention weekends. Customers were surprised with a Nintendo-themed gaming flight as Southwest and Nintendo representatives onboard provided them with the opportunity to play a custom air travel-themed Super Mario Maker 2 course, called the Southwest Super Sky Challenge. Everyone onboard who played the game was entered for a chance to win a $500 Southwest® gift card and a Nintendo Switch prize pack containing a Nintendo Switch system and a download code for a digital version of the Super Mario Maker 2 game, with one lucky winner being selected prior to the flight landing.

Each of the Customers onboard the 737-700 aircraft was then awarded a Nintendo Switch system and a download code for the digital version of the Super Mario Maker 2 game to enjoy during their travels and on future flights. Upon arrival to San Diego, Mario himself greeted the flight and took photos with Customers in the gate area.

“Together, Southwest and Nintendo continue to elevate the ways in which we connect to our Customers’ passions, bringing families together over shared memories that will last,” said Brandy King, Director of Communication & Outreach who oversees the airline’s Brand Partnerships and Entertainment Public Relations initiatives. “We’re excited to celebrate this summer by introducing our Customers to a great travel companion sure to keep them entertained, while on a flight, on the road, or at home: Nintendo Switch.”

“With the help of Southwest, we brought smiles to an entire plane full of people,” said Nick Chavez, Nintendo of America’s Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “We hope that spirit of fun lasts for a long time, as now everyone on the flight has a Nintendo Switch system and Super Mario Maker 2 to play at home or on their future travels.”

Fans attending the big convention in San Diego July 18-21 can stop by the Nintendo Gaming Lounge at the San Diego Marriott Marquis & Marina at 333 W. Harbor Drive, directly adjacent to the San Diego Convention Center. There they can play the Southwest Super Sky Challenge Super Mario Maker 2 course and be entered into a sweepstakes** for a chance to win a $500 Southwest gift card,  a Nintendo Switch system,  and a digital version of Super Mario Maker 2 game. Fans who already own a Nintendo Switch system and the Super Mario Maker 2 game can play a custom air travel-inspired course especially designed for Southwest by using the Course ID 39C-LQR-WLF in the Course World mode***.

Known for its ability to play fun games at home and one the go, the Nintendo Switch system allows consumers to customize their gaming experiences and find their way to play. The system has a large library of critically acclaimed games, with more on the way for 2019 and beyond.

All photos by Southwest.

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Southwest brings ‘Finfare’ of Discovery Channel’s Shark Week to the sky with onboard pre-premiere episode

Southwest Airlines has made this announcement:

Southwest Airlines, in partnership with Discovery Channel, launched a campaign bringing the fun of Shark Week to flying fans this summer. The carrier is celebrating Shark Week throughout July, ahead of Shark Week on Discovery beginning Sunday, July 28.

“Our Shark Week partnership brings fun through unique offerings for our Customers and Employees,” said Brandy King, Director of External Communication who oversees the airline’s Brand Partnerships and Entertainment Public Relations initiatives. “Whether on the ground with augmented reality experiences and gate games hosted by our Employees, to inflight exclusive content on our Shark Week On-Demand Channel, or through our social channels with engaging content and a special sweepstakes, we’ll be celebrating Sharks all month.”

Southwest brings Shark Week to fans through all phases of travel and, this year, extends the immersion straight into their homes. Through an augmented reality experience, Shark Week fans engaging with Southwest through the carrier’s social channels and in airports across the country will be encouraged to “swim with sharks” by using the augmented reality experience, accessible via swa.is/sharkweek. Fans can download a filter on their cell phones to select from the five most-popular sharks featured in Shark Week programming (Great White Shark, Hammerhead Shark, Mako Shark, Tiger Shark, and Bull Shark) to swim across their screens, and share a photo or video of the experience to their social channels using #SharksTakeFlight.

Customers traveling this summer will be able to experience the fun of Shark Week in a variety of ways. While inflight, Customers can enjoy jawsome content via the Onboard Entertainment Portal’s custom Shark Week TV Series Channel. The Shark Week TV Series Channel houses a library of Shark Week episodes that Customers can sink their teeth into, plus a never-before-seen episode, Extinct or Alive: The Lost Shark, which Customers can watch nearly 30 days ahead of its premiere during Shark Week. The feeding frenzy continues as Southwest Customers tune in to Shark Week on Discovery Channel beginning Sunday, July 28, and continuing through Sunday, August 4, via Live TV onboard Southwest WiFi-equipped flights.

Southwest Employees also are getting in on Shark Week fun! Beginning July 8, Employees in 40 Southwest airports will display Shark Week materials in gate areas with which Customers can interact. Delivering on Southwest’s legendary Customer Service and Hospitality, Southwest Employees will host gate games to entertain fliers and celebrate the 31st anniversary of Shark Week, one of the most popular and longest-running televised summer events in history.

For fans who want to experience a diving excursion, Southwest is hosting a Dare to Dive sweepstakes from July 1-31 giving a chance to land a trip to Nassau, Bahamas, to enjoy a diving experience*. Anyone may visit Southwest.com/sharkweek for a chance to win roundtrip air travel (does not include taxes and fees of at least $5.60 per one-way flight) for winner and three guests, a $3,000 gift card to The Island House, a boutique hotel, and a $375 gift card to Stuart Cove’s for a diving excursion.

One of the most popular and longest-running televised summer events, Shark Week has celebrated cartilaginous creatures for more than 30 years. This year, viewers can enjoy hours of new content that will answer some of your most pressing shark-related questions. This year’s programming will immerse fans in the lives of sharks all around the world, from the Caribbean Sea to the island of Guadalupe, and many places in between.

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Southwest removes the Boeing 737 MAX from the schedule through October 1

Southwest Airlines has made this announcement:

Southwest Airlines continues to await guidance from Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on the impending 737 MAX software enhancements and training requirements. We are encouraged by the reported progress and proposed path forward for returning the aircraft to service, and we remain confident that, once certified by the FAA, the enhancements will support the safe operation of the MAX.

We previously revised our flight schedule by removing the MAX through Sept. 2 to offer reliability to our operation and stability for our Customers during the busy summer travel months. With the timing of the MAX’s return-to-service still uncertain, we are again revising our plans to remove the MAX from our schedule through Oct. 1.

By proactively removing the MAX from scheduled service, we can reduce last-minute flight cancellations and unexpected disruptions to our Customers’ travel plans.

SWAPA’s update on the Boeing 737 MAX

SWAPA, the union representing Southwest Airlines pilots union, has provided this update via their President:

As you learned last week, Southwest has now removed the MAX out of their schedule until at least September. With the confusing information coming from the FAA, national and geopolitics, and Boeing’s continued missteps, there is no accurate estimate of when the MAX will return to service. Present projections range from September to December. Certification flights on the new MCAS flight control logic (remember, MCAS is not a system) will continue in the next few weeks and decisions on what form of training will be required have not been made.

Boeing seems to receive more bad news with every passing week and still needs to learn how to rebuild trust as well as the airplane. Boeing failed to disclose MCAS initially, failed to build in redundancy, and failed to notify the FAA of issues related to MCAS in a timely manner. In March, they expectedly but reprehensibly, asked to have the venue switched from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois to Indonesia in order to settle the Lion Air Flight 610 accident for minimal amounts. If Boeing’s tactic succeeds, the cases for the families become nearly worthless and a similar strategy might be attempted for the Ethiopian accident as well.

While there are still questions and issues with each respective airline’s management, training, and flight crews, Boeing still has substantial responsibility and liability and will undoubtably face many legal issues, civilly, and perhaps criminally, in the United States federal court system. A requested change of venue only exacerbates and continues to harm Boeing’s image and trustworthiness in the eyes of the public and Congress.

SWAPA is continuing to cooperate with the United Sates Justice Department’s Criminal Division in their subpoena of our records and information regarding the MAX. This and other SWAPA expenses relating to the MAX, as well as the loss of flying to our members is very expensive. SWAPA will be seeking compensation and reimbursement from Boeing for every dollar legally available to be challenged when the MAX issues are resolved.

Besides correcting their obvious mistakes, there are many things Boeing should do to gain the trust of the Pilots who fly the MAX. As the 737 has been modified and evolved, and stage length increased, there have been very little to no advancements for UV protection, enhanced window sun shades, reduction of flight deck noise, or flight deck crew seats and jumpseat ergonomics, health, safety and comfort. On the 737, pilots have basically been an afterthought as evidenced from the non-disclosure of MCAS to the aforementioned issues.

While there is ample information from the Lion Air accident, Ethiopian Flight 302 is an entirely different story. There is little hope of getting more cooperation, data, or information from that crash, except for perhaps a sanitized final accident report, which will probably not have the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) data or much else. The Ethiopian government and Ethiopian Airlines possess the data and information that is needed to answer the many remaining questions and provide a complete report.

As a member of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Ethiopia is also technically required to comply with the Accident Investigation Section and Annex 13 – Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation of the ICAO policies. However, in actuality, ICAO has very little enforcement and/or sanctioning authority.

Some of the questions and issues that still need to be answered and explored are:

  1. Details of training and information Ethiopian Airlines received from Boeing and others on how to train their crews and what was directed to be trained
  2. Syllabus, format, and details of ground, simulator, and flight training that Ethiopian Airlines previously used and now uses to train their crews
  3. Details of their Safety Management System (SMS)
  4. What training and or information was given to Ethiopian flight crews regarding MCAS after the Lion Air accident
  5. Their procedures for unreliable airspeed and stick shaker
  6. Theirauto-throttleprocedures
  7. Their flight mode selection criteria and training
  8. Their autopilot engagement criteria
  9. Their runaway stabilizer procedures
  10. Theirairspeedoverspeedrecognitiontrainingandprocedures
  11. Their extended envelope training and unusual attitude recovery training

Ethiopian Airlines depends on some of its revenue from being a member of the Star Alliance and the government of Ethiopia considers the airline important for the stability of the country. Also, Boeing is highly involved in ab initio pilot training programs and training overseas. In fact, in a CNBC interview that appeared on Monday, June 17, the Boeing CEO highlighted the pilot supply/demand issue in an effort to shore up future sales and profit from future flight training.

These issues taken together may present a conflict of interest, thereby further complicating a full, complete, and impartial investigation and may affect safety in the future. SWAPA will continue to lobby for one level of safety, qualifications, and training for flight crews worldwide, while requesting the FAA to use its position in ICAO to do the same.

In the future, Congress must address their 2004 decision where they mandated the FAA have authority to expand the role of aircraft manufacturers via an “Organization Designation Authorization” (ODA), delegating much of the FAA’s regulatory oversight to the very companies it oversees. In effect, Congress created much of the current ODA problem by reducing the FAA’s budget to conduct oversight internally and effectively. Any solution should provide a safeguard to prevent another flawed certification.

Part 25 of the Federal Aviation Regulations that address certification regulations and requirements may need to be examined. Although legally required by current Part 25 standards, there will invariably be a discussion of whether MCAS should have practically been required to be added to the MAX, and/or should the MAX have been a separate type rating to begin with. How type ratings should be promulgated and regulated in the future is already being discussed. SWAPA has been asked to comment on several proposed bills that address some of these issues, which are making their way through Congressional offices and committees.

As the MCAS problems are corrected, there are still issues with the new LEAP 1-B engines regarding coking, where residual fuel remains in the fuel nozzles after shutdown. This issue must be fully understood. SWAPA has specifically asked both Boeing and Southwest maintenance management whether the cool-down procedures for the LEAP engines is a contributing factor with coking. The answer remains no.

In closing, remember that both accidents, despite being compounded by an ill-designed and faulty MCAS flight logic, began with an erroneous stick shaker and unreliable airspeed indications. Once the flaps were retracted, and the erroneous MCAS activation occurred, runaway stabilizer conditions began to occur. We have had a checklist for airspeed unreliable and runaway stabilizer at our disposal for many years. SWAPA is adamant that the runaway stabilizer checklist must again be a memory item and that Southwest develop formal and well laid out procedures for erroneous stick shaker activation.

SWAPA pilots proved during SWA flights 1380 and 3472 that two fully trained and qualified pilots are essential to safely recovering a malfunctioning aircraft. As the most experienced 737 operators in the world, our obligation is to continue to mandate the very best training and qualifications for all. There must only be one level of safety. For lives lost and families destroyed, this is the very least we can do to prevent another tragedy from happening again. Safety isn’t just about being safe today, it is about being safer in the future.

Leading forward,

Jon

Southwest Airlines extends the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX

Southwest Airlines has issued this updated statement on its Boeing 737 MAX fleet:

In compliance with the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) order on March 13, 2019, our Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft remain temporarily grounded.

Southwest Airlines continues to await guidance from Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on the impending 737 MAX software enhancements and training requirements. We are encouraged by the reported progress and proposed path forward for returning the aircraft to service, and we remain confident that, once certified by the FAA, the enhancements will support the safe operation of the MAX.

In April, we revised our flight schedule by removing the MAX through August 5 to offer reliability to our operation and stability for our Customers during the busy summer travel months. With the timing of the MAX’s return-to-service still uncertain, we are again revising our plans to remove the MAX from our schedule through September 2.

By proactively removing the MAX from scheduled service, we can reduce last-minute flight cancellations and unexpected disruptions to our Customers’ travel plans. We will proactively contact all Customers whose itineraries will be impacted by the revision to offer them maximum flexibility and re-accommodate them well in advance of their travel date. The revision will proactively remove roughly 100 daily flights from our schedule out of our total peak-day schedule of more than 4,000 daily flights.

Southwest Airlines extends its flight schedule through the end of 2019, will expand at Long Beach

Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-76N WL N7729A (msn 32675) LGB (Michael B. Ing). Image: 946605.

Southwest Airlines today announced it extended its bookable flight schedule through January 5, 2020.

New and Returning Service

Beginning November 3, 2019, Southwest will add daily nonstop service between Baltimore/Washington and Greenville-Spartanburg. This route was previously offered in 2016.

Just a few days later, on November 9, 2019, the carrier will add new weekly service on Saturdays between Boston and Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood.

Long Beach Service

Having recently received additional slot allocations from the City of Long Beach, Southwest is rounding-out service for Long Beach Customers with additional flights. Effective October 1, 2019, the carrier will offer the following service:

Between Long Beach and Oakland (Four daily flights)*
Between Long Beach and San Jose, Calif. (Four flights a day on weekdays and three flights on Saturdays and Sundays)
Between Long Beach and Sacramento (Four flights a day on weekdays and three flights on Saturdays and Sundays)
Between Long Beach and Las Vegas (Two flights a day on weekends)

*Between Oct. 1 and Oct. 31, there will be an additional flight on Saturdays and Sundays between Long Beach and Oakland.

In October, the carrier will also offer one roundtrip a day on Tuesdays and Wednesdays between Long Beach and Las Vegas and one roundtrip a day on Saturdays and Sundays between Long Beach and Denver.

Holidays on the Beach
The carrier also announced today the return of several seasonal routes linking key cities across the United States with the Caribbean and Latin America.

Effective November 3, 2019, daily service will resume between:
Austin and Cancun

Effective November 9, 2019, weekly service on Saturdays will resume seasonally between:

Houston (Hobby) and Aruba
Nashville and Cancun
Milwaukee and Cancun
San Antonio and Cancun
Baltimore/Washington and Liberia, Costa Rica
Baltimore/Washington and San Jose, Costa Rica
Denver and Belize
Chicago (Midway) and San Jose del Cabo/Cabo San Lucas

Top Copyright Photo: Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-76N WL N7729A (msn 32675) LGB (Michael B. Ing). Image: 946605.

Southwest Airlines aircraft slide show:

CNBC: Southwest won’t charge passengers to change planes to avoid the Boeing 737 MAX

From CNBC:

Southwest Airlines won’t charge uneasy passengers to change flights to avoid traveling on the Boeing 737 Max if and when regulators allow the jet to take to the skies again, the airline’s chief marketing officer said Thursday.