A recent incident involving an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft has led to concerns about its safety and grounding. Here’s what air travelers need to know:
How long will the planes be grounded?
The timeline for the return to service of Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft is uncertain. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued an Emergency Airworthiness Directive grounding all US 737 Max 9 aircraft with a mid-cabin door plug feature until they pass inspection. The return to service will depend on inspections and safety evaluations.
What about operations of this model elsewhere?
The FAA’s directive affects 171 of the world’s 737 Max 9 aircraft, but there are 215 in service globally. Some international carriers operate models not affected by the issue, while others have followed the FAA’s lead and grounded their planes. Airlines often follow the FAA’s recommendations, but the FAA does not have authority over the operation of aircraft operated by some international carriers.
How have flight operations been affected?
Hundreds of flights have been canceled on United Airlines and Alaska Airlines, the two US carriers using 737 Max 9 aircraft. Other airlines, such as Copa Airlines and Aeromexico, have also faced cancellations. Airlines with larger fleets may have an easier time accommodating passengers on other aircraft.
What to do if your flight is canceled?
Passengers whose flights are canceled due to the grounding can request a refund. Federal law entitles passengers to a full cash refund if their flight is canceled or significantly changed, regardless of ticket type. Airlines are also offering reaccommodation on different flights.
Is it still safe to fly on Boeing 737 Max jets?
The safety of Boeing 737 Max jets is under scrutiny as investigations continue into the recent incidents. Aviation experts suggest a wait-and-see approach until the exact source of the problem is identified and resolved. The aviation industry emphasizes maintaining safety standards, and the National Transportation Safety Board is actively investigating the issue.
How to determine the type of plane you’re flying on?
Passengers can check the aircraft type in the “details” section when booking flights. Flight receipts also typically indicate the scheduled aircraft. Websites like ismyplanea737max.com can provide information. However, last-minute aircraft swaps are possible, so passengers can double-check the plane’s tail number at the gate for confirmation.