What to Know if Your Boeing 737 Max 8 Flight Was Canceled


For passengers like Mr. Damiani, 29, the change of face by U.S. authorities meant they needed to change plans. He tried rescheduling his flight online, but was redirected to call the customer service line. When he called the line, he was told there was a 28-minute callback time, so he tried to get help at his gate.

“Every desk was solidly 50 people deep,” he said. “This was already a busy day with SXSW.”

He is now flying to New Orleans on a 7:15 p.m. flight with a layover in Orlando.

Here’s what passengers need to know about the grounding.

The Ethiopian Airlines plane crash that killed 157 people on Sunday rattled travelers, lawmakers and aviation officials around the world. Just five months ago, the same model of airplane — a Boeing 737 Max 8, operated by Lion Air — crashed off Indonesia and killed all 189 people onboard.

While the cause of Sunday’s tragedy remains undetermined, and the investigation into the Lion Air accident is ongoing, several circumstances surrounding these two crashes are similar.

The 200-seat Boeing 737 Max 8 has been a popular plane since it came on the market in 2017, with more than 4,000 planes ordered within the first six months. The plane sold quickly, based on features that passengers crave — a quieter cabin, more legroom — and bottom-line benefits to airlines, including fuel efficiency. At the time of the Ethiopian Airlines crash, nearly 350 Boeing 737 Max 8s were in operation around the world, including on routes across the United States: Miami to Los Angeles, Houston to Denver, San Francisco to Portland.

With 34 planes in operation, Southwest Airlines has the largest number of Boeing 737 Max 8s in the world. Air Canada and American Airlines each have 24. United Airlines does not operate any Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft, but it does fly the 737 Max 9 and had 14 of the planes. WestJet, another Canadian carrier, flies 13 Max planes, about eight percent of its 162-plane fleet.

Because of Wednesday’s ban, all of the 737 Max planes will be grounded.

For some airlines, the number of routes affected is minimal. On average, American operates 85 flights per day on the Max 8, out of 6,700 departures throughout its system. Southwest Airlines flies 34 Max 8s out of more than 750 total planes, which are used on 4 percent of its flights. A spokesman for Southwest said that the airline had canceled 5 Max flights out of 4,100 flights today as most passengers were moved to other aircraft. “We routinely have available aircraft in our fleet,” he said.

In a statement issued on Twitter, United Airlines said that its fleet of 14 Maxs account for roughly 40 flights a day, adding that “through a combination of spare aircraft and rebooking customers, we do not anticipate a significant operational impact.”

Air Canada in contrast, told its passengers to brace for possible difficulties. “Given the magnitude of our 737 Max operations which on average carry nine to twelve thousand customers per day, customers can expect delays in rebooking and in reaching Air Canada call centres and we appreciate our customers’ patience,” the company said in a statement.

It advised customers to check their flights on the airline website before going to the airport.

John L. Dorman and John Surico contributed reporting.



Source link Nytimes.com

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