Airlines are selling thousands of flights on the Boeing 737 Max this year, though regulators are yet to say when the plane can fly again
- Airlines including American Airlines, United, and Air Canada are selling thousands of flights on Boeing 737 Max planes this year, even as the planes remain grounded, the UK's The Sunday Times newspaper reported.
- The planes have been grounded since March, far longer than the industry expected, with some airlines now estimating that the flights will return in November, while others are hedging their bets on January.
- One American Airlines passenger who booked a December flight told the Sunday Times he didn't "want to be a guinea pig" when he found out it was on a Max plane, and polls have found Americans reluctant to use the plane even when it is approved.
- Airlines have said they will accommodate passengers who don't want to fly on Maxes, but many are struggling as they cancel flights and new planes aren't delivered.
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Airlines are currently selling thousands of flights on Boeing's 737 Max planes, though it remains grounded and regulators have not said when it can return to service after two fatal crashes.Airlines including American, United, Southwest, Norwegian, and TUI are selling thousands of flights in November and December of this year using the plane, the UK's The Sunday Times newspaper reported.Advertisement
The 737 Max has been grounded around the world since March after two deadly crashes in October 2018 and March 2019, which killed a total of 346 people.
The US Federal Aviation Administration and its equivalent regulators around the world have not given a timeline for when the plane will return to the air. As a result, airlines are continually delaying flights involving the plane, some until the start of 2020, as its return is pushed back later than the industry had expected.Read more: The FAA told Congress that it hopes the world's aviation regulators will simultaneously allow the 737 Max to resume flying
But booking a flight today could mean that you have booked a seat on one of the planes for November or December of this year.
On Monday, Business Insider found flights for sale on the 737 Max in early December on American Airlines' website:
American Airlines/Business Insider
And Air Canada's site is offering flights using the plane in early January:
Air Canada/Business Insider
American Airlines announced in July that it would cancel flights until early November, and Air Canada said it would cancel them until January.
Airlines have been making multiple announcements that push back the expected return dates by a few weeks at the time, and so these dates could change again.Read more: Photos show how Boeing's grounded 737 Max planes are piling up at the company's Seattle plantAdvertisement
Stephen Dickson, the head of the FAA, said in August that it is not imposing a timeline for the plane's return, and will only let it fly once Boeing's changes to the plane have been approved.
REUTERS/Tiksa NegerI/File Photo
The airlines hope for the plane to return as soon as possible, but many have said that they will accommodate customers who don't want to fly on it despite advocating for its safety.can switch planes for free, and United Airlines said it would offer free re-bookings for passengers who didn't want to fly on the Max planes.Advertisement
American Airlines' also said that the airline would rebook passengers who don't want to fly on the planes, but one passenger told The Sunday Times that the airline had refused him a refund for a flight in December."The thought of the holiday now sends a shiver down my spine," Chuni Kahan said. "I don't want to be a guinea pig".Advertisement
Kahan said that American contacted him to tell him about the plane model. American Airlines told The Sunday Times that it will help customers that are worried about flying on the planes when they return.
Many people seem reluctant to trust the plane even after it is cleared to fly. An early June poll by investment bank UBS found 41% of Americans said they wouldn't consider flying on a Max plane until it had been back in service for six months.The effects of the grounding on airlines have already materialized.Advertisement
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