How to avoid booking a Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft on a flight

United Airlines and Alaska Airlines continue to preemptively cancel hundreds of flights as the Boeing 737 Max 9 continues to be grounded, leaving travelers grappling with the fallout.

The two U.S. airlines that fly the Max 9, United Airlines and Alaska Airlines, say affected passengers will be rebooked on another aircraft within the next few days or receive a refund in the case of a cancellation. It is said that

However, the long-term outlook is less clear. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said safety alone will determine whether the Max 9 planes return to service. “All I’m saying is it’s safe to consider the schedule,” he said at a news conference in Washington on Wednesday.

Jorge López Quintana, a New York City traveler, said he canceled a Max 9 flight to Alaska scheduled for late February. “I don’t mind having the entire fleet inspected and repaired by then. The Max is over.” Like López-Quintana, there are concerns about flying with the Max 9 or even booking future flights. There may be some people.

When the Boeing 737 Max was grounded in 2019 after two fatal crashes, some passengers vowed to avoid the plane. After 20 months, the Federal Aviation Administration lifted its ban on all 737 Max models.

But once the planes returned, travelers didn’t avoid them en masse, as some industry observers expected. Maybe timing was a factor. The suspension was lifted in November 2020, at the height of the pandemic, when passenger numbers were a fraction of what they would be during normal travel periods.

But this latest 737 Max incident, specifically involving the Max 9 model, comes at a time when travel is booming, although not as much as the holiday season.

It remains to be seen whether travelers will avoid the Max 9 in the long term, but if you’re planning to fly on one when the plane returns to service, or if you’re planning to book a flight in the coming weeks, consider the following: There are options like: A different plane.

before booking your next flight

Before booking your flight online, check the types of aircraft scheduled for your desired route. Search engines like Google Flights typically display the model in a grid of results, along with departure times, flight numbers, connecting cities, and other details.

Travel booking site Kayak offers specific aircraft filters on the left side of the flight search results page. Travelers can include or exclude specific aircraft models from flight searches.

A Kayak spokesperson said usage of the 737 Max filter tripled in the days following Friday’s incident. On Wednesday, the company released an even more detailed feature: the ability to differentiate between the Max 8 and Max 9 planes. Previously, both Max models were grouped together. (Up to 8 aircraft will not be affected by the suspension of operations.)

Even if you have booked a different aircraft, airlines may change aircraft at the last minute due to operational, mechanical, or weather-related issues.

Already reserved a 737 Max 9?

Alaska Airlines and United Airlines are the only U.S. airlines to fly the 737 Max 9. A total of 171 aircraft were grounded due to FAA grounding orders. International airlines Copa Airlines, Aeromexico and Turkish Airlines have grounded their Max 9 aircraft.

Alaska Airlines and United Airlines currently offer change and cancellation waivers for customers who book this type of aircraft. Travelers can change their flights without fees or cancel their flights and receive a refund. However, it is unclear when the Max 9 will return to service. The travel exemption period currently runs until January 20th.

Travelers scheduled to fly on a 737 Max 9 aircraft through January 20 can call the Alaska Reservations Office at 1-800-252-7522 to rebook on another aircraft for free. (if possible). No fare differences apply to new trips in the same cabin. Alaska Airlines announced it would offer full refunds to passengers who cannot be re-accommodated.

United Airlines said customers who purchased tickets by Jan. 6 and scheduled to take Max 9 flights can change their travel dates and the airline will waive change fees and fare differences. . Additionally, if you cancel or do not take your trip, you will receive a full refund for up to nine operated flights through January 15th.

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