If you’re flying any time soon, you may find that you have been booked on a 737 MAX Jet – the same plane that is currently grounded.
“Do not expect this plane to be certified or fly for the rest of this year,” said CBS Travel Editor Peter Greenberg about the 737 MAX.
When asked what the latest with Boeing is, Greenberg says, “Boeing will be lucky if the plane is certified and flies in the first quarter of next year.”
The 737 MAX is grounded by the three US airlines that fly them – Southwest, American and United. Right now, they’re cancelling about 300 flights per day. But come this fall, those airlines are banking on those planes being back in the air.
If you’re booking a flight for Thanksgiving or Christmas, you’ll want to double-check the type of plane on the flight.
For example, a connecting Southwest flight from Midway Airport to Los Angeles International Airport, with one leg on the MAX. Southwest has the MAX back on the schedule in early October.
On American, there are multiple connecting flights to Miami, which also involve the MAX. Both American and United have the 737 MAX back on schedule Nov. 3, but that may not be realistic.
“If you still have a reservation on a Boeing 737 MAX for the rest of this year, odds are very, very good you won’t be flying on it, so you might as well call the airline now and see if they’ll rebook you on another airplane,” said Greenberg.
As for Chicago-based Boeing, the two deadly overseas crashes involving 737 MAX have hit sales hard, dropping total sales from 453 planes from the first half of 2018 to 108 during the first six months of 2019.
“Boeing is a very resilient, strong company. They may have to have some changes in management,” said Greenberg.
If you find yourself scheduled on a MAX, airlines are doing their part to navigate that issue for you. United is automatically booking customers on alternate flights, American is still working to finalize customer-assistance policies for when the MAX returns to the skies, and Southwest always allows customers to change travel plans without paying a fee.