Who's afraid to fly on a Boeing 737?

Flyers trying to avoid Boeing's 737 Max planes could unknowingly book a flight on one.


Boeing 737
Boeing 737

Consumers who want to avoid flying Boeing 737 Max jets after they return to the skies could still unknowingly book flights scheduled for those models.

Max jets remain grounded in the United States, following two deadly crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia. American Airlines and Southwest Airlines have removed the 737 Max from their schedules through August and United has removed the Max through July.

A review of flights scheduled on Max planes in the fall found they do not clearly identify which aircraft model passengers will be flying on, according to two primary sources of airline schedule data, Diio Mi and ch-aviation.

Officials at American and United airlines told that their systems will be updated so that customers will be able to again see if a Max is scheduled on any given flight. By Wednesday morning, United's website was updated to correctly show, for example, that a Max 9 is scheduled for Flight 1046 on Sept. 8.

Feinstein, the American Airlines spokesman, says the airline initially removed information about the aircraft model from flight searches not to cause confusion, but to eliminate it. When the FAA grounded Max planes on March 13, American had to quickly cancel some flights and move non-Max aircraft onto other flights.

American's online booking system was designed to provide information for future bookings, not to reflect real-time "equipment swaps," as they're known, Feinstein says.

Some consumers who thought they were scheduled to fly on Max planes based on information they saw online either didn't want to fly or wrongly assumed their flights were canceled.

"So we quickly suppressed that incorrect information," Feinstein says.