United Airlines Forgot to Remove the 737 MAX From Their Schedule

At this point no one knows when the Boeing 737 MAX will fly again. Most bets are on sometime late in 2019, though it could be early 2020 if no other issues are discovered during the re-certification process.

Southwest, American, and United have all announced that they’re cancelling Boeing 737 MAX flights into early November although the truth is they don’t know when it will fly again. Each previous cancellation has been followed by another one.

Except… while United announced that they were pulling the 737 MAX from their schedule, they apparently forgot to actually do it.

Here’s Houston – Seattle. They even flag the Boeing 737 MAX 9 as a “recommended flight.”

And here’s one of the Houston – Newark flights on a 737 MAX.

Booking one of these flights doesn’t mean you’ll actually fly a 737 MAX. The date I happened to search was September 10 and there’s no way that the plane will be re-certified and brought back into the fleet by then. Furthermore even if re-certification had occurred, the airline might have a hard time with employees who bid for schedules assuming they wouldn’t be flying on the MAX.

This actually strikes me as an interesting test. My bet is that most people don’t look at the type of plane they’ll be flying when buying tickets. If these flights sell as well as other flights in the market, as well as the flights historically have, that might suggest that 737 MAX flights won’t suffer from customers booking away once the aircraft does return to service.

United Airlines, Houston

It’s not a perfect test because right now customers may assume the plane won’t be flying, though once it returns to service they could be more vigilant about the type of plane they’re flying on — as it appears they were when boarding Southwest Airlines flights and seeing safety cards for Boeing 737-800s that were the same as those used on the MAX.

(HT: Marc L.)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Southwest, American, and United have all announced that they’re cancelling Boeing 737 MAX flights into early November…

    Worth noting that Southwest has states they’re removing it from their schedule until January 5.

  2. I saw a 737 Max flight from SEA-SFO a week ago when trying to make a booking for Sep 28th but returning to that same flight now it has reverted to a 737-9. Maybe it’s taking some time to re assign everything up through November.

  3. @Sam

    +1 Seems Gary missed the Southwest announcement. It was on all the news channels… Personally I think that the Southwest announcement of 5 months delay is more noteworthy. This could easily go over a year.

  4. “Each previous cancellation has been followed by another one.”

    Ha, sounds like my last 10 flights. Every 30 minutes we will be leaving in just 30 minutes.

  5. It’s like how United forgot to make sure or schedule their FAs are in the correct airport before booting people off. Common theme… how are they still in business? O, I know, they offer a really inferior product to boost revenue compared to inter national carriers.

  6. I look at the type of plane…too bad AA obscures it sometimes so you don’t know what you’re getting. Crap 737 or new 737…US Scare A320 or nicer AA 320.

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