The second deadly crash of a new Boeing 737 Max 8 in less than six months has prompted more than two dozen airlines to ground them, and Canada, Mexico and countries in Europe and the Mideast to deny them air space to fly over.
Here’s what you need to know if you want to avoid flying in one, before of after you buy your ticket.
Use one of these avaiation apps
These apps let you check the type of plane you are scheduled to fly:
All three make it easy to see the type of airplane on which you’re scheduled to fly.
Look up your flight number or use the app filter function to track all 737 MAX 8s or any other aircraft.
Check your airline’s website or app
Check the registration of the airplane on the FAA site
If you want to cancel a flight scheduled on this plane
If, however, you are booked on a flight with an airline that has grounded its Boeing 737 Max 8 planes, Mr. Zillmer says you will probably be refunded your fare.
“Since this situation would be a result of mechanical issues and therefore the airline’s own fault, travelers may be eligible to claim compensation,” he said.
There’s no easy answer to what compensation you might receive, since it depends on laws of the country the departure airport is in, and also the home country of the airline.
For example, iIf you are on a flight in or out of the European Union, or operated by a European Union-based airline, Mr. Zillmer notes that E.U. regulations may entitle you to compensation of up to “$700 per person.” That may or may not cover the original cost of the ticket.
Travel insurance probably won’t protect you
Paul Hudson, the president of Flyers Rights, a passenger advocacy group, says even insurance might not help in these circumstances.
“Insurance would probably protect against government or airline action grounding delays, but not passenger election to change flights,” he told the NY Times.
Julie Loffredi, the manager of media relations for InsureMyTrip.com, a travel insurance comparison site, said that “fear” is usually not a good enough reason for insurers to pay compensation to travelers who cancel their flights.
“With traditional, standard travel insurance you wouldn’t be able to cancel and get your money back out of fear,” she said.
However, since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, more travelers purchase coverage that allows for any cancellation, whatever the reason. It’s a more expensive type of policy, but can provide reassurance to travelers concerned about headline-making news.
International airlines which have grounded their Max 8 fleets.
Cayman Airways in the Cayman Islands has grounded its two Boeing 737 Max 8 planes.
Ethiopian Airlines has grounded its remaining four, following the disaster which killed .
The Civil Aviation Administration of China grounded all 97 of the country’s domestic Boeing 737 Max 8s.
Indonesia followed suit, as have other carriers.
Air Canada is monitoring the situation and has continued to operate its normal schedule, said spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick in an emailed statement.
North American airlines still flying Max 8 fleets
American, Southwest and United have 72 of the planes
Consumer Reports is calling on airlines and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to ground Boeing 737 Max 8 jets until they finish a thorough safety investigation.
The consumer website says in a statement that American, Southwest and other carriers should do what foreign governments and airlines have done and temporarily suspend flights.
“Telling the public that the airplane is airworthy, as the FAA has done, without offering further explanation, does far too little to relieve the uncertainty and fear created by these two tragedies,” the statement says.
Southwest Airlines – which flies 34 of the Max 8 models – told the NYTimes that it has been in contact with Boeing and is following the investigation. “We remain confident in the safety and airworthiness of our entire fleet of more than 750 Boeing 737 aircraft,” he added. “We don’t have any changes planned to 737 Max operations.”
A United Airlines representative, Rachael Rivas, clarified that although United does not have any Max 8 planes in its fleet, it does have other planes from the Boeing 737 Max series. “We have made clear that the Boeing 737 Max aircraft is safe and that our pilots are properly trained to fly the Max aircraft safely,” she added.
American Airlines – which flies 24 of the new planes – said in a statement to CNN on Monday that it is monitoring the investigation.
Because the F.A.A. has not grounded the planes, carriers are following their normal policies for passengers who wish to change their travel plans.
Southwest Airlines does not charge change fees. Passengers may, however, need to pay any difference in fare price.