Airlines will let 737 Max passengers change their tickets for free

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  perrie-halpern  •  one week ago  •  20 comments

By:   Ben Popken

Airlines will let 737 Max passengers change their tickets for free
Boeing's 737 Max has been cleared for takeoff — but some passengers say they're still reluctant to board the controversial aircraft.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



Boeing's 737 Max has been cleared for takeoff by the Federal Aviation Administration 20 months after it was grounded following two crashes that killed everybody on board— but some passengers say they're still reluctant to board the controversial aircraft.

That's forcing airlines to reassure passengers that the jet is safe — while also giving them free ticket changes if they're not comfortable flying on the Max.

"If our pilots, along with the APA, FAA and our safety teams are confident the aircraft is safe, we are confident in its return to service," David Seymour, chief operating officer of American Airlines, wrote in a letter signed by five other top executives for the company. The Allied Pilots Association, or APA, is the union representing American Airlines' pilots.

But, Seymour added, "if a customer doesn't want to fly on the 737 Max, they won't have to."

Jenn Cammorato, 40, a revenue manager for a rental company from Los Angeles, wrote in a message: "I'd change my ticket or make the reservation over the phone to make sure I'm not flying on a Max. In fact, I don't want to fly any Boeing planes any more, and now I spend time researching routes on travel enthusiast websites and forums to find airlines that fly Airbus or other planes on flights I need to take."

Other passengers have a different view.

"Flying is a commodity. I'll fly on whatever the cheapest ticket gets me," wrote Lou Nunzio, 39, a mechanical engineer from Safety Harbor, Florida. "Flying is still significantly safer than driving, even on that particular plane."

Airlines said customers can look at their itineraries to see which kind of aircraft they are scheduled to fly on.

"For now, most airlines that have the plane will show it as the Boeing 737 Max 8 or Max 9 at booking," Brian Kelly, founder and CEO of The Points Guy, a travel advice site, said in an email. "There's been talk that some airlines could rebrand the Max as a 737-8 or Boeing 737-9 — which is different from the non-Max Boeing 737-800 or 737-900. That's something to look for."

As it gets closer to their departure dates, passengers can request different flights, and the fare changes or ticket fees will be waived, the airlines said. They can also request refunds for refundable tickets. Nonrefundable tickets can be canceled and turned into credits for future flights.

However, aircraft swaps can occur on the day of travel itself — so there is still a chance that a passenger who has opted not to fly on a Max will find that the jet is the only one available.

For passengers who have concerns about the safety of a jet that has been out of action for months, there are several steps to return a flight to service. The planes will have to be removed from storage, maintenance checks will need to be performed, every plane will have to go through readiness flights, FAA approvals must be obtained, and pilots will have to undergo two additional hours of simulator training.

"Bringing a grounded jet back into service involves a lengthy list of maintenance actions, inspections and operational flight tests, in addition to training pilots on updated software and emergency procedures approved by the FAA during the Max recertification," commercial pilot Marc Himelhoch said.

"It will probably take a couple of months minimum for most airlines to get their pilots trained and accomplish all the logistics, maintenance and operational test flights required to get the planes back into revenue service," he said.

Boeing said Wednesday that it has "worked closely with airlines, providing them with detailed recommendations regarding long-term storage and ensuring their input was part of the effort to safely return the airplanes to service."

But winning back customer trust may prove to be more difficult than completely re-engineering a jet, as Boeing has done.

"The real issue now for airlines is how they introduce it back into their systems in a way that builds confidence of the traveling public," aviation expert Mark Dombroff, a partner at the Fox Rothschild law firm, said in an email.

"The aircraft is one of the most microscopically examined aircraft in the history of aviation," Dombroff said. "This has included focus by the manufacturer, the FAA, as well as non-US aviation authorities and the airline industry."


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Bob Nelson
1  Bob Nelson    one week ago

If another one goes down...... 

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
1.1  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Bob Nelson @1    one week ago

I was just thinking the same thiing when I saw the headline.  If another one does, they might as well scrap the rest of them.

I consider my getting on an airplane days to be entirely over - I don't ever intend to return to Canada again.  The super-speed railways here are fantastic, extremely comfortable.

 
 
 
Greg Jones
2  Greg Jones    one week ago

"The aircraft is one of the most microscopically examined aircraft in the history of aviation"

Hopefully,they are right....and that all airlines, no matter the size, make sure their pilots are trained correctly

Crash investigators said an automated feature on the Max known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) repeatedly forced the noses of the planes down, overwhelming pilots and leading to the crashes.

The FAA order on Wednesday requires the overhaul of MCAS developed by Boeing, as well as other improvements to the flight control system. The updated software makes MCAS less powerful, so a pilot can more easily regain control of the plane, Boeing said. The plane also now compares input from two external sensors rather than one. Investigators determined that faulty data being fed to a sole sensor caused MCAS to repeatedly engage before the crashes.

The FAA required that a cockpit alert — meant to flag problems with the sensors, but that didn’t work unless airlines chose that option — is on all planes. The agency is also ordering the rerouting of wiring to prevent a potential “short circuit” in a horizontal stabilizer critical for safe flight.

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
3  seeder  Perrie Halpern R.A.    one week ago

I won't be getting on one any time soon, even without COVID. I'll let someone else be the test crash dummy. 

Btw... that is my worst fear. I still fly, but I am never happy about it. Funny that my dad spent his career building aircraft and testing them.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
3.1  Bob Nelson  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @3    one week ago

We'll be making a dash from Calais to Yuma soon. I don't think there are any of these on Paris - Dallas, but I'm not sure about Dallas - Phoenix. Phoenix - Yuma is a puddle-jumper. 

 
 
 
MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)
3.1.1  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)  replied to  Bob Nelson @3.1    one week ago

I'm not sure that Dallas to Phoenix is a long enough flight for a 737 Max. Paris to Dallas is likely an Airbus or a 747. 

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
3.1.2  Bob Nelson  replied to  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka) @3.1.1    one week ago

... here's hoping... 

 
 
 
Ender
3.2  Ender  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @3    one week ago

It never bothered me at first but got worse every time.

Last time I flew it was a bumpy ride. I don't know if the plane had to wait to land or something but right before landing the plane made a turn and I swear, the plane almost turned sideways banking around.

 
 
 
MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)
3.3  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @3    one week ago
I won't be getting on one any time soon, even without COVID. I'll let someone else be the test crash dummy. 

I'm pretty sure that if you ask any aircraft mechanic if they'd fly in one, they'd probably say no. The only likely reason you'd get a yes is if that mechanic did a large portion of the avionics checks and maintenance him/herself. 

Btw... that is my worst fear. I still fly, but I am never happy about it. Funny that my dad spent his career building aircraft and testing them.

I'm not afraid to fly, but I won't fly in a 737 Max. Too new, already too many failures and now they want to reintroduce the entire fleet all at once? I have an issue buying an updated or new model [first year] car, you think I'm about to get in a new model aircraft? Boeing fell short on training pilots and issues with the MCAS for a few reasons [as stated in the article, the harnesses needed to be rerouted and another sensor added]. I am still floored that Boeing didn't add backups to their backups like is relatively typical for failure prevention. They failed in the failure prevention with this aircraft. It's going to take a TON of successful flights for most people to trust it. Hell, I'd be surprised if there weren't pilots that refused to fly it.

 
 
 
MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)
4  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)    one week ago
"There's been talk that some airlines could rebrand the Max as a 737-8 or Boeing 737-9 — which is different from the non-Max Boeing 737-800 or 737-900. That's something to look for."

That's some sneaky crap right there. If someone hasn't read about that, the assumption would be that they renamed the 737-800 and 737-900 by simply dropping the 00.

 
 
 
MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)
5  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)    one week ago
A report into the Max’s certification published last October by the Joint Authorities Technical Review (JATR) panel, an international team of safety experts headed by the former head of the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), found that the FAA had “inadequate awareness of the MCAS function” and “limited involvement”, which resulted in “an inability of the FAA to provide an independent assessment of the adequacy of the Boeing proposed certification activities associated with MCAS.” If the JATR’s assertions are true, how did it get to this point, where the overseeing agency was incapable of assessing key components on the aircraft it was meant to certify?

Source:

That's an issue when the governing body doesn't even understand the new system that were the primary cause these crashes to begin with, don't you think?

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
5.1  Bob Nelson  replied to  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka) @5    one week ago

jrSmiley_29_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
evilgenius
6  evilgenius    one week ago

There is nothing wrong with this plane. The issues that grounded it were some software packages were sold as add in extras. Now that all planes have all the software packages and all pilots are now trained on all the software things should be good. 

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
6.1  Bob Nelson  replied to  evilgenius @6    one week ago

things should be good

 They should have been good the first time. 

 
 
 
evilgenius
6.1.1  evilgenius  replied to  Bob Nelson @6.1    one week ago
They should have been good the first time. 

I won't argue. Boeing clearly should have lost more than it did for their stupid money scheme.

 
 
 
MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)
6.2  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)  replied to  evilgenius @6    one week ago

I still question the redundancy that should've been in place to begin with; I'll wait until I hear a lack of complaints from professional pilots are frequently flying it with the MCAS in place before I decide to trust this aircraft with the updated designs and software updates. There were complaints of hardware malfunctions initially and that's when they decided to bring in software "fixes" and that wasn't good enough. I work in the automotive software industry and I can tell you from experience, software doesn't always fix the issues it was intended to fix.

 
 
 
evilgenius
6.2.1  evilgenius  replied to  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka) @6.2    one week ago
I work in the automotive software industry and I can tell you from experience, software doesn't always fix the issues it was intended to fix.

I do IT work and I only know too well how software updates can make things worse not better. 

 
 
 
MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)
6.2.2  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)  replied to  evilgenius @6.2.1    one week ago

I'm in IT in an automotive software company. jrSmiley_82_smiley_image.gif I used to be in the Engineering Quality group. I don't understand why the FAA allowed Boeing to perform their own certifications on a new system and new software. That's just begging for trouble. In automotive, ASPICE and ISO / IATF requires that a team, independent of engineering, must ensure that the engineering teams are following requirements of Federal Government, Customer, Company, and Engineering Ethics... oh, and that the suppliers to are scrutinized in the same manner.  Why doesn't Boeing have a team completely separate from the engineering teams to perform regular auditing on their practices? Why don't they have records showing that they'd been reviewed or audited? It's insane to me. That's all.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
6.2.3  Bob Nelson  replied to  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka) @6.2.2    one week ago
Why doesn't Boeing have a team completely separate from the engineering teams to perform regular auditing on their practices? Why don't they have records showing that they'd been reviewed or audited? It's insane to me. That's all.

I spent many years in management consulting. Your questions are excellent. They highlight the many, many indications that Boeing was putting profit before safety.

 
 
 
MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)
6.2.4  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)  replied to  Bob Nelson @6.2.3    one week ago

That's an understatement. A couple whistleblowers even stated that it was profit before safety. With that many lives at stake, it should always be safety first!

 
 
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