All the major airlines (Southwest, American, and United) who operate the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft are now saying that they do not plan to enter the airplane back into service until Labor Day weekend or later. This is a major problem for many summer travelers as thousands of flights will have to be canceled in July and August and most likely into September. Normally this would not be a problem if it happened in the slow travel season this fall but travel in July and August is the heavy season of family vacations and in some cases there just are not enough empty seats to go around. I was flying on Friday and the airports are packed already. It could get really hot and ugly flying this summer as planes will probably set records for being full.
You may regret buying a ticket on Southwest Airlines this summer –
Southwest Airlines operates 34 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft and has been impacted more than any other airline with the grounding of the 737 MAX. My simple calculation is that they have to cancel 170-200 flights per day affecting about 30,000 seats canceled every day this summer. WOW! American (24 airplanes) and United (14 airplanes) also operate 737 MAX aircraft however many fewer planes than Southwest. AA and UA are also blessed to be able to fill those canceled flights with larger aircraft they have and not displace as many passengers. The problem with Southwest is their flights are so full that when a flight is canceled it may take 2-3 days to find an alternate flight with empty seats. UA and AA both participate with other major airlines who help them take their displaced travelers on other airline’s flights. Southwest does not do this. For years I have been preaching that flying on Southwest (and other low-cost airlines like Frontier, Allegiant, etc.) can cause major problems and expenses when normal service is disrupted. In July and August, you may wish you had listened to my advice.
The airlines want your fingerprints and facial recognition to be able to fly –
The government and airlines are testing new facial recognition and fingerprinting services they say will speed up the security lines at the airport. Many people don’t trust the government or airlines with that information and are pushing back at the use of these biometrics for air travel. Granted these new biometrics can be used for good but they also can be used for bad. When I travel to China twice a year they get my fingerprints and my facial scan. Basically, they can follow me almost everywhere in China. This is very creepy to me and I think until there are safeguards in place I worry that biometric security should be put on hold until personal security is locked down first. CLICK HERE to read more.
United Airlines now allows passengers to pick a gender option other than male or female when making reservations –
Previously, the airlines required passengers to select male or female gender options when making reservations. United Airlines now says they will provide travelers with the additional choices to identify themselves as U, for undisclosed, or X, for unspecified. With the new option to self-identify your gender, wouldn’t it make more sense to simply eliminate asking for gender altogether on airline reservations? Wouldn’t that be much easier and eliminate one more question to fill out? CLICK HERE to read more.
My favorite airline snack the “Stroopwafel” is back 24/7 on United –
Last year United Airlines decided to drop the Dutch-made cookie from its flights and they almost caused a riot with passengers who loved the snack with caramel syrup layered between two thin waffle cookies. Wisely, United brought back the Stroopwafel in January of this year and offered it as a breakfast snack on flights departing before 9:30 am. On Monday of this week, United did even better and announced they would now offer the famous Stroopwafel on all flights. Hip-Hip-Hooray! I also love the Biscoff cookies offered on Delta and American. They are not too sweet but just sweet enough. Both snacks are perfect with a cup of coffee or a glass of milk.