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The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration on Wednesday joined dozens of other countries' regulators in ordering airlines to ground new Boeing 737 Max planes, citing evidence linking a deadly crash of one of them in Ethiopia over the weekend to a similar fatal flight in Indonesia in October. (You can find more detail on why the planes were grounded here.)
That has left airlines scrambling to rebook passengers and reassign planes. The three U.S. airlines — United, American and Southwest — that have recently added the planes to their fleets, and have more on order, said they will rebook or waive ticket-change fees and fare differences for travelers affected by the FAA's order, which went into immediate effect.
American Airlines, which has 24 Boeing 737 Max planes in its fleet of nearly 1,000 aircraft, said it was ferrying those planes to be parked until the FAA order is lifted. It operates about 85 flights out its 6,700 flights a day using the Max.
Routes with multiple flights each day, where passengers can more easily be rebooked to another time, are likely to take the biggest hit. Travelers who aren't booked on the Max may also be affected as airlines deploy their planes to cover other routes with less frequent service.
United Airlines has 14 of the Boeing 737 Max 9s, a larger model, in its fleet. The airline said it expects minimal disruptions from the issue, but it will work with customers if their flights are canceled.
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#BREAKING Boeing CEO: 737 MAX planes could be phased back into service by regulators https://t.co/0w6sJ2oBwk
Airlines are proactively removing Boeing 737 Max planes from schedules to prevent more last-minute cancellations an… https://t.co/BPVP7Gsktt
"WestJet is removing Boeing 737 Max jets from its holiday schedule..WestJet, which had earlier scrubbed the 13 plan… https://t.co/plzV7jPk1R
Why the hurry in India & for DGCA to resume operations of grounded #Boeing737Max when @Boeing itself is yet to take… https://t.co/nvwqCW6bMa
RT @ohdearvictor: @robcuzican @Multi_Sapphire @TopherRuggles @eric_banks @QasimRashid How many of y'all apologists feel comfortable riding…