Airlines to let 737 MAX passengers change tickets for free

Shutterstock / John Patota

Some passengers are reluctant to fly the recently ungrounded Boeing 737 MAX. To reassure travelers, airlines intend to offer free ticket changes. 

“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 (A1G) (AAL), wrote in a letter signed by five other top executives for the company. But he also added that “if a customer doesn’t want to fly on the 737 Max, they won’t have to.”

American Airlines (A1G) (AAL) announced that passengers who are uncomfortable flying 737 MAX, will be able to request different flights or refunds for refundable tickets. Nonrefundable tickets can be canceled and turned into credits for future flights. Still, aircraft swaps can happen on the day of the flight, meaning that travelers might find themselves on a MAX if it is the only available jet.

On November 18, 2020, the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) ordered the release of MAX, grounded since March 2019. However, the FAA’s status was possibly undermined during the grounding, as several aviation authorities announced they would conduct independent reviews of the 737 MAX.

Before operating the aircraft, airlines will have to complete the tasks in the Aircraft maintenance manual (AMM) that include removing the jet from the storage, going through maintenance checks and readiness flights and pilots undergoing additional training in a full flight simulator (FFS). 

The US airlines are the first ones scheduling to start flying the Boeing 737 MAX. American Airlines (A1G) (AAL) planned flights for December 29, 2020. Followed by United Airlines and Southwest Airlines (LUV) starting their flights in the beginning of 2021. 


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