Potential for Delays After Grounding of All Boeing 737 Max 8 Planes
Here's how to know if your next flight is affected.
The deadly crash of an Ethiopian Airlines plane on Sunday is having a ripple effect across aviation. The U.S. announced Wednesday it would follow more than 40 other countries in grounding Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes — the aircraft involved in this and another fatal crash late last year — as an investigation takes place, and travelers should know how this could affect their own plans.
In the hours following Sunday's crash, airlines and several government bodies around the world decided to ground all 737 MAX 8 aircraft. Several U.S. airlines and Boeing stood behind the 737 MAX 8 and said they would continue to operate the planes, until Wednesday when President Trump announced the grounding of all Boeing 737 MAX 8 and MAX 9 aircraft. American, United and Southwest, among others, all operate flights on the affected planes.
“On March 13, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grounded all U.S.-registered Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, including the 8 and 9 variants, as a precautionary measure,” American Airlines said in a statement. “This includes the 24 MAX 8 aircraft in the American Airlines fleet. We are complying with the FAA directive.”
As American's statement implies, the impact on travelers will vary depending on the airline and its use of the 737 MAX aircraft. Travelers will want to check the status of any upcoming flights with their airline.
American said customeres can rebook by contacting airline reservations, or request a full refund: “Our team will work with all customers impacted by these flight cancellations in order to rebook them to their final destination.”
United said about 40 flights a day are operated on the aircraft, however they do not expect the grounding to “have a significant operational impact.” Some customers will need to be rebooked, however, and should contact the airline to do so.
Southwest issued a statement that its 34 737 MAX 8 aircraft represent 5 percent of its fleet, and the airline's goal “is to operate our schedule with every available aircraft in our fleet.”
The grounding comes on the heels of news that the TSA expects record numbers of travelers around the spring break travel period.
Some international flights out of the U.S. will also be affected.
“We would like to apologize to customers who will be affected by temporary cancellations and delays,” Norwegian Air said in a statement. “The safety and security of our customers and colleagues will never be compromised, and once authorities advise to cease operations we will of course comply.”
If you’re scheduled to fly on a 737 MAX 8 plane, or not sure what kind of plane your flight is on, check your flight status with your airline.