News just out is suggesting that Max planes could return to Southwest as soon as October. That’s important because that could signal when more Southwest Hawaii flights will be introduced. The FAA and Boeing are apparently moving forward with un-grounding the fleet sooner than later. The FAA said that “a cross-section of line pilots from carriers that operate the aircraft around the world” will take part in simulator testing “as part of the overall testing and validating of new procedures on the Boeing 737 MAX.” It is further anticipated that pilot retraining as set out by the FAA could begin in the weeks ahead.
So what does that mean to cheap flights to Hawaii and $99 airfares?
While more Southwest Hawaii deals were announced with new routes trans-Pacific and inter-island in the past week, the company remains constrained by the lack of new aircraft to fulfill all of their desired Hawaii routes. As an example, long-anticipated flights between San Diego and the islands have not yet been announced.
What is going to happen next, and when.
When Max planes can return to service, and a definite date is set, Southwest may adjust their Hawaii schedule, and add additional routes. The big question is when that could happen. We aren’t hearing anything more conclusive that what is stated above. Thus the earliest possible time frame being thrown around recently is fall 2019. We’d say perhaps November. That is because it may take Southwest up to a month to get the Max planes serviced and re-integrated into their schedule.
Importance of Max planes to Hawaii flights.
Max planes are the future fleet for Southwest Hawaii flights. While the company is only certified for and uses Boeing 737-800 aircraft for Hawaii at this time, it has always been their intention to convert Hawaii service to the new fleet when feasible. Other airlines will use Max planes as well, including Alaska Airlines.
Cheap flights to Hawaii are still to be found.
Remember that the incredible airfares we have seen repeatedly with the introduction of Southwest Hawaii flights are just on hold again “temporarily.” There are still, however, other sales to be found. Watch for more Hawaii deals soon. Stay tuned.