US Airlines Will Allow Free Flight Changes When 737 MAX Returns

One of the biggest issues surrounding the potential return of Boeing Co.’s troubled 737 MAX is whether a skeptical flying public will want to get back on that particular aircraft.

U.S. airlines will apparently make that decision easy for you, according to the New York Times.

Carriers will allow free flight changes when and if the 737 MAX gets back in the air

U.S. carriers have not yet announced policies related to the return of service of the Max. However, in a statement this week to The Times, a United Airlines spokeswoman said that the company “will be transparent — and communicate in advance — with our customers who are booked to fly on a Max aircraft, will rebook those who do not want to fly on a Max at no charge.”

Expect other airlines to follow United’s lead with rebooking, as Southwest and American confirmed similar intentions to the aviation blog The Points Guy.

But, to be clear, that’s a rebook, not a refund.

The 737 MAX has been grounded worldwide since March of 2019 following two separate crashes resulting in the deaths of 346 passengers and crew. The plane made its first test run on Monday as part of the Federal Aviation Administration recertification process and completed nearly eight hours total in the air on Friday.

Much remains to be done, however, before the aircraft can officially get back in the air, which won’t happen before September. The FAA will take the data from the three separate test flights and will evaluate the results.

In addition, the Seattle Times reports that the FAA and a panel of regulators from Canada, Europe, and Brazil will evaluate minimum pilot training requirements and flight manual instructions, issue a draft report open for public comment, and then produce a final report on the required minimum training standard — which will include time in a full-flight simulator, something Boeing had long resisted for the MAX.

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