Multiple countries around the world have grounded the Boeing 737 Max 8, the type of plane that crashed Sunday in Ethiopia, killing 157, including 18 Canadians.
The European Union, China, Singapore, Australia, South Korea, Oman, India, Iceland and Malaysia have all grounded or banned the aircraft from operating in their airspace. As of March 13, Canada has decided to ground the plane as well. Many airlines have also suspended the Max 8 model, including Aeromexico, Aerolineas Argentinas, Cayman Airways, Comair Limited, Eastar Jet, Jet Airways, MIAT Mongolian Airlines, China Airlines, China Eastern, China Southern, Lion Air, SilkAir and Norwegian Air.
Air Canada flies 24 Max 8s, and WestJet operates 13. Prior to Canada’s safety notice, Sunwing had already announced it was temporarily suspending use of its four Max 8s. Air Canada said in a statement Wednesday that its customers should expect delays in rebooking flights as the airline complies with the order from Ottawa. The carrier said its Max 8s fly 9,000 to 12,000 passengers a day.
If you’ve booked a flight on these Canadian airlines, how can you find out if you were booked on a Max 8? Several options are available.
“Any travel agent will be able to see in their system what the aircraft type is,” says Richard Job, a spokesperson for Flight Centre Canada.
If you are booking on a website, it will always either give you the name of the aircraft or code, Mr. Job explains.
Every aircraft has a three-letter or digit code. For example, 321 is the code for an Airbus A 321, while 77L is the Boeing 777-200 Long Range.
The code for the 737 Max 8 is 7M8.
Air Canada passengers have several ways they can find out what type of aircraft they were booked on.
“You see it at the time of booking online at aircanada.com, prior to booking. It is also on customers’ itinerary receipts that they receive once they purchase a flight. It is also indicated when you use the flight-status service on aircanada.com,” Peter Fitzpatrick, a spokesperson for the airline, explained in an e-mail.
Just as clicking “Details” on the Air Canada website will tell you the aircraft type you’ll be flying on, clicking “Flight details” on the WestJet website will bring up a page showing the aircraft code.
You can call the airline to ask for information. Or, if you’d rather not risk getting stuck on hold, you can find a flight’s aircraft type on websites such as seatguru.com. Simply enter the airline, flight date and flight number.
Some travel agents and websites have begun to respond to consumer concern and the grounding of Boeing’s 737 Max planes by changing policies and introducing options to allow customers to choose the type of aircraft they wish to fly on.
Several travel agents said they were dealing with the cancellation of flights due to the grounding of nearly two-thirds of the Boeing 737 Max planes in most countries outside North America, prompting a wave of rebookings.
Carlson Wagonlit Travel, which manages travel for big global businesses, said some clients wished to explore the possibility of temporarily restricting travel on Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes.
“We’ve recently received feedback to make Kayak’s filters more granular in order to exclude particular aircraft models from search queries,” a spokeswoman for the website said in an e-mail responding to questions. “We are releasing that enhancement this week and are committed to providing our customers with all the information they need to travel with confidence.”
U.S. travel firm Expedia, Germany’s Trivago and Indian online travel agents MakeMyTrip and Yatra did not immediately respond to requests for comment about the impact the crash is having on bookings.
Sunday’s crash was the second in five months of a Boeing 737 Max 8. In October, one of the planes operated by Lion Air crashed into the Java Sea 12 minutes after taking off from Jakarta, killing 189 people.
With a report from Reuters