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How to Find Out If You’re Booked on a 737 Max and What to Do if You Are

Image: Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

After two deadly plane crashes involving Boeing’s 737 Max 8 jet over the past six months, many airline passengers and airlines have starting to consider whether or not the planes are safe to fly.

While a number of airlines have opted to ground the planes, several others have not, specifically those in the United States and Canada. Even despite the fact that many pilots have voiced concerns about the plane to both the FAA and Boeing, one calling the flight manual “inadequate and almost criminally insufficient,” according to The Dallas News.

The FAA is still allowing the planes to fly, as it did after the Lion Air crash in November, and has instead said that it will mandate “design changes” to the Max 8 as well as the Max 9 “no later than April 2019,” CNN reports. However, the announcement also indicated that it had not yet determined the cause of the most recent Ethiopian Airlines crash.

Boeing, on the other hand, maintains that the planes are safe to fly, and has said that it has been working to develop an enhancement to the plane’s flight control software to “make an already safe aircraft safer” and is currently working on the planning and certification of that software with the FAA. It’s expected to be deployed in the coming weeks.

What airlines are currently flying Boeing’s 737 Max 8?

There are only 350 Boeing Max’s in operation around the world, across 54 different operators. The vast majority of those planes have been grounded either by the airline or the government of their country in the wake of the Ethiopian Airlines crash.

The U.S. and Canada are currently the only two countries where a substantial number of the planes are operating. As far as U.S. carriers go, Southwest Airlines has 34 Max 8’s in its fleet and American Airlines has 24. In Canada, the planes are only being flown by Air Canada and Westjet.

How can I find out if I’m flying on a 737 Max 8?

In many cases, the type of plane a flight is on will be listed right where you’re booking the ticket.

If you’ve already booked your plane ticket, the type of plane you’re flying on should be printed on the ticket itself. For instance, on this ticket Alaska Airlines ticket I was able to see that the plane will be part of the Airbus series.

If you don’t see it or want more info, then SeatGuru can make finding that info easy. There, you enter in your airline, date or flight, and flight number and you’ll get info about the aircraft as well as the amenities on board and a seat map telling you where the best spots are to sit.

A SeatGuru search for that Alaska flight, for instance, went a little further than my ticket to the flight will be on an Airbus A320

What can you do if you don’t want to fly on one?

If you’ve already booked a ticket on a 737 Max 8, the unfortunate answer is “not much.” Both American and Southwest will let you rebook most fares or tickets, but that rebooking can come at a cost.

For Southwest, you typically only need to pay the difference in fare between your current ticket and the one you’re swapping it to; however, the airline has reportedly decided to not allow customers to switch flights between the 737 Max and regular 737. With American, you’ll have to pay the difference in fare as well as a $200 change fee. If you have a Basic Economy ticket then you won’t be allowed to change the flight at all, making your only solution if you don’t want to fly on a 737 Max to simply buy a new plane ticket.

Shockingly, United is the only airline offering to help switch customers’ flights for free, and it doesn’t even own any of the Max 8 planes. It does have 14 Max 9’s in its fleet and has said that it will “do what is best in our capabilities to find alternative travel arrangements,” for any passengers that are uncomfortable flying on one.



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