By Stacey Leasca
June 17, 2019

Boeing may soon be ready to return its 737 Max 8 plane to service, but not all passengers are ready to fly on it quite yet.

According to a new a study for Atmosphere, led by consultant Henry Harteveldt, 20 percent of U.S. travelers would definitely avoid flying on a Boeing 737 Max 8 plane in the first six months after flights on the aircraft resume, The Los Angeles Times reported. The study noted that more than 40 percent of would-be flyers would be willing to pay more for a different aircraft or take a less convenient flight to avoid the Max.

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“Travelers aren’t merely scared of the 737 Max, they’re terrified of it,” Harteveldt said in the report, according to the newspaper. “The 737 Max is, for now, an ‘airplane non grata’ — a plane passengers do not want to fly.” The survey found that only 14 percent of respondents would definitely fly on a 737 Max within six months of its return.

In a separate analysis by UBS, which surveyed 1,000 people, 70 percent of respondents said they would have some hesitation about booking a flight on a 737 Max.

Airlines are also being cautious about resuming service on the aircraft. On Sunday, American Airlines announced it will continue canceling flights using the 737 Max plane through September 3.

“In April, American extended cancellations for the MAX through August 19. We are now extending those cancellations through Sept. 3,” the airline said in a statement. “By extending the cancellations, our customers and team members can more reliably plan their upcoming travel on American. In total, approximately 115 flights per day will be canceled through Sept. 3.”

Boeing declined to comment to The Los Angeles Times regarding the recent surveys but did point to a recent statement by its Chief Executive Officer Dennis Muilenburg.

“We’ll do everything possible to earn and re-earn that trust and confidence from our airline customers and the flying public in the weeks and months ahead,” Muilenburg said in the statement. “We take the responsibility to build and deliver airplanes that are safe to fly and can be safely flown by every single one of the professional and dedicated pilots all around the world.”

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