Air travelers express concerns about air travel after Boeing 737 Max 9 accident

A woman took the last few sips of her drink and closed the tab Thursday at the Regal Sea Foods bar at Reagan National Airport.

“Don’t worry, you’re safer up there than here,” bartender Stephen Simon told her. The woman smiled and left three quarters of the beer.

During his 12 years working at the airport, he has always seen nervous planes. “You can’t always tell where the tension is coming from. A lot of people just hate flying,” he added.

Those fears are becoming increasingly difficult to quell for some passengers as the airline industry is hit by a spate of incidents, most notably Friday’s incident in which a door plug was blown off an Alaska Airlines flight. . As a result, the Federal Aviation Administration grounded some Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft, and Alaska Airlines and United Airlines canceled hundreds of flights.

Less than a week later, on January 2, a Japan Airlines passenger plane collided with a Japan Coast Guard aircraft at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport and burst into flames. All 379 passengers and crew members escaped safely. A United Airlines flight from Sarasota, Fla., to Chicago was diverted to Tampa International Airport Wednesday afternoon due to possible mechanical problems, the airline said. The airline, which grounded about 80 Boeing 737 Max 9 planes, said the planes had resumed flying after the problem was resolved.

Kayak, a booking site that allows users to filter by aircraft when booking flights, said usage of the 737 Max filter tripled in the days following the Alaska Airlines incident. On Wednesday, the company released a more granular feature that allows travelers to differentiate between Max 8 and Max 9 planes.

Honolulu-based Alaska Airlines flyer Jay Franzone frequently uses the airline to fly to and from the Hawaiian Islands, and the Max 9 flies on those routes. The 28-year-old said the incident had made him reconsider booking future flights on the aircraft, “especially since it’s a long journey over water.”

“It’s clear that Boeing doesn’t put safety first. That said, I think it’s more like anxiety than outright fear,” he said.

Review of travel plans and seats

Eric Moorer, 35, of Washington, D.C., typically chooses to sit on a plane on the back left side of the plane, behind where the pilot sits in the cockpit.

Moorer said the practice has become a superstition over the years, playing into a similar travel safety adage that the seat behind the driver’s seat is the safest. Although Moore has no intention of changing his preferred seating arrangement, he has changed his flight itinerary for a business trip to London scheduled for March.

The day after the Alaska incident, he discovered that his United Airlines flight would use a Boeing Max aircraft, so he changed to a British Airways flight (Boeing Dreamliner). He spent about two hours with a United Airlines customer service agent trying to cancel and get a refund for his flight. Although it’s difficult to predict which seat on his plane will be the safest, Moore said his best bet is to change his travel plans.

“This is one of those things where there’s only so much you can do in terms of preventative medicine and precautionary thinking,” he said. “I try not to let it affect my mindset or my overall travel plans.”

Jeff Jull, 33, of Shakopee, Minn., plans to avoid flying on United Airlines and Alaska Airlines as a precaution, even if he has to take a connecting flight or depart from a different airport. is. However, if flight planning results in him boarding a Boeing Max aircraft, he will do so reluctantly.

He said changing the seating arrangement doesn’t address the main concerns about flying on a Boeing Max plane. It is difficult to predict whether other problems will develop with the plane itself. These accidents can be unpredictable, making it difficult to choose a “safer” airplane seat.

“It’s kind of a false sense of security,” he says.

Tom Bunn, a former airline pilot and certified therapist, holds group counseling sessions on Zoom every Wednesday night. Last night we had about 35 to 40 people, twice as many as usual.

“We had more people last night than ever before,” said Bunn, founder and president of SOAR, a fear-of-flying program that has helped an estimated 15,000 travelers.

Mr. Bunn said he was surprised by the content of the meeting. Most of the participants remained calm.

“Most of them could see [the incident] “Don’t panic,” he said. “They understood that this was rare and shocking, but everyone seemed pretty down to earth.”

Mr. Bang shared several helpful techniques, including the 5,4,3,2,1 method, which uses all five senses to quiet the mind. He also reassured travelers that the Boeing 737 Max 9 will not return to the skies until investigators determine it is safe.

Robin Anderson is scheduled to fly to Zihuatanejo, Mexico, on Alaska Airlines. The Seattle-based acupuncturist has a 4-year-old daughter, and he said he won’t feel completely safe until he returns home.

Ever since she heard the news about Alaska Airlines, her anxiety has skyrocketed. She couldn’t help but think about what would happen to her and her daughter if a tragic accident happened.

“Despite being told the risk is low, you start imagining what your child’s life would be like without you,” said Anderson, 43. “I mean, this is a big deal to me, but it’s making it worse.”

The five-day trip will begin early next week from Seattle to Los Angeles, where they will board another flight to Zihuatanejo.

“Those are intrusive thoughts about my child’s safety and my own safety. Even if I don’t die on the plane, what if I get seriously injured?” What if my appearance is permanently disfigured? Do you have it? ” she said.

Until recently, Mary McCarty Early, 57, a market research analyst and adjunct university instructor in the Washington, D.C., area, described her on-board personality as “a white person holding on for dear life.” But since she took her van class last year, she has become more confident in flying. She’s even unfazed by the Alaska Airlines news.

Instead of letting her imagination linger on worst-case scenarios, she focuses on the facts. Flight 1282 landed safely. The Federal Aviation Administration has removed that model of aircraft from circulation. Experts are currently investigating the cause of the hardware failure. Her Sunday flight from Washington to Orlando uses an aircraft with good safety standards.

“There’s some anxiety and I’m going to work through it, but I have no doubts that I’ll be able to get on the plane,” she said. “I’m very confident that I have the skills to not completely panic.”

Chris Dong contributed to this report.

Source link

Related Posts

Next Post

Follow Us



    Please install/update and activate JNews Instagram plugin.