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Grounding of 737 MAX aircraft 'extremely chaotic' for airlines, travellers: expert

Last Updated Mar 13, 2019 at 8:59 pm MDT


The grounding of Boeing 737 Max planes could throw a wrench in your vacation plans, a travel expert warns

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – As the Canadian government orders the grounding of all Boeing 737 Max planes, a travel expert warns this will likely result in a travel nightmare for those with flight plans over spring break.

Travel agents like Nellie Snow says it’s horrible timing because many people are going on spring break in the next few weeks. “It’s extremely chaotic and you can’t move them around because no flights are available.”

She points out airlines need to figure out how to reschedule flights before they can let passengers know what the changes are. You could be in for changes — or even cancellations.

“Personally, I have a whole family of 10 I’m dealing with right now. I’ve checked every alternative — going through Seattle, doing all sorts of things — but everything is sold out.”

On Wednesday, Canada’s transport minister made the decision to ground the aircraft, following Sunday’s deadly Ethiopian Airlines crash that left 157 dead, including 18 Canadians.

RELATED: Canada, U.S. ground Boeing 737 Max aircraft

Passengers may face departure time changes, seat differences, and even possibly being moved from a direct flight to one with a connection.

Sunwing has already announced that it would ground its fleet of 737 Max 8s. Air Canada and WestJet also have a number of the jets.

Both Air Canada and WestJet say they support the decision to ground the aircraft.

“We are working to rebook impacted customers as soon as possible but given the magnitude of our 737 MAX operations which on average carry nine to 12,000 customers per day, customers can expect delays in rebooking and in reaching Air Canada call centres and we appreciate our customers’ patience,” Air Canada said in a statement.

“This decision has an impact on the travel plans of our WestJet guests and we ask for understanding as we work to rebook all guests affected as quickly as possible,” WestJet said in its statement.