United Airlines Cancels Another Month of Boeing 737 MAX Flights
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United Airlines is preemptively canceling its Boeing 737 MAX flights for another month as uncertainty lingers about when the troubled jet might be cleared to fly again.
The Chicago-based carrier has now removed its 14 737 MAX 9s from its schedules through Aug. 3. Previously, United had taken the jet off its schedules through July 3. The airline says it will have canceled about 2,400 flights just in June and July because of the MAX’s grounding.
United’s updated MAX schedule also brings it closer to the MAX schedules now in place at the other two US carriers that fly it. Southwest, which has 34 Boeing 737 MAX 8s, has taken the aircraft out of its schedules through Aug. 5. American has removed its 24 Boeing 737 Max 8s through Aug. 19.
United said extending its MAX grounding would help mitigate problems rebooking customers during the busy summer travel season.
“Since the grounding of the Boeing MAX aircraft in March, United has gone to great lengths to minimize the impact on our customers’ travel plans,” United said in a statement to The Points Guy. “We’ve used spare aircraft and other creative solutions to help our customers, who had been scheduled to travel on one of our 14 MAX aircraft, get where they are going. But, it’s harder to make those changes at the peak of the busy summer travel season.”
“We’ll continue to monitor the regulatory process and nimbly make the necessary adjustments to our operation and our schedule to benefit our customers who are traveling this summer,” United added in its statement.
Once the MAX does resume flying, United and other operators of the jet could face a challenge in convincing customers it is safe to fly.
Earlier this week, United CEO Oscar Munoz acknowledged to the Chicago Tribune some customers may be skeptical about the MAX once it returns to service.
To help reassure those passengers, Munoz said he planned to be on United’s first 737 MAX flight when the jet resumes flying.
“Just because somebody says it’s safe, you as the flying public aren’t just going to get on the aircraft,” Munoz said Wednesday morning, making the candid comments after United’s annual meeting with shareholders.
He said United also intends to be clear with customers when their flight is on a MAX, adding: “If people need any kind of adjustments, we will absolutely rebook them.”
Featured photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.
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