Community Issues

Don't Want to Fly on a 737 Max 8? Find Out Your Options

Here's how to find out if you're booked on one of the aircraft that's been involved in 2 fatal crashes in 5 months, and what it will cost you to switch flights.


(Images:Boeing.com)

What if you've booked a flight but you don't want to fly one of the Boeing 737 Max 8 planes, the aircraft that has crashed twice int he past five months? You do have options, but they'll probably cost you, since the FAA and the two US carriers (Southwest and American) who use the Max 8 aren't grounding the fleet like many other countries. Air Canada is still flying their fleet. Click here for a full list of airlines that fly the 737 Max 8.

Your first question may be: how do I find out whether I'm booked on a 737 Max 8? According to Newsweek , the type of aircraft scheduled for a specific flight is usually shown on the web page, along with your flight number, after you book a trip. If it's not, you can contact your airline directly, or check websites which list the aircraft for specific flights:

Not surprisingly, these website have experienced a spike in searches since the crash in Ethiopia Sunday that killed all 157 people on board. And beware: the airline can change the type of plane used for a flight without notice.

If you find out you're indeed booked on a 737 Max 8, experts say there's not a lot you can do without paying a fee to change flights (about $200 for a domestic flight, more for international travel). Paul Hudson, president of consumer advocacy group FlyersRights.org , told MarketWatch that as long as the FAA and Boeing say the planes are safe, it's up to the passenger to pay for any flight change.

Henrik Zillmer, the CEO of the consumer group AirHelp, agrees. He told the New York Times that passengers would not be entitled to compensation if they decide to cancel their flights.

"(Passengers) do not have a right to compensation or reimbursement for tickets purchased, as it is technically their decision to cancel." Henrik Zillmer, CEO, AirHelp

Southwest said in a statement it had confidence in the safety of the 737 Max 8. While they're not issuing refunds of nonrefundable fares, the airline is "working with" customers individually who want to re-book to another type of aircraft.

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