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What you need to know before you fly on a Boeing 737 MAX

November 20, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

SEATTLE, WA - NOVEMBER 18: Boeing 737 Max airplanes sit parked at the company's production facility on November 18, 2020 in Renton, Washington. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today cleared the Max for flight after 20 months of grounding. The 737 Max has been grounded worldwide since March 2019 after two deadly crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia. (Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)

Grounded last year due to crashes, Boeing's 737 MAX is returning to the skies, but passengers may be wary of booking tickets unless they know what they're getting.

At the time of the grounding, American, Southwest, and United were the only US-based operators flying the MAX with a total of 72 aircraft in their fleets, according to Cirium data.

American Airlines had taken delivery of 24 MAX aircraft before the grounding, and it has 10 more coming before the end of the year as confirmed by President Robert Isom at the Skift Aviation Forum this week.

But what if American swaps airplanes and puts a MAX on a route that was supposed to be operated by another aircraft?

Southwest was the largest operator before the grounding with 34 MAX aircraft in the fleet.

Southwest has yet to put out exact customer guidelines since it won't put paying customers on the airplane for several months, but it does say that it will allow "customers booked on a 737 MAX 8 to request a change to a flight on one of our 737-700 or 737-800 aircraft as they approach their departure date, subject to seat availability. "

Alaska Airlines hadn't taken delivery of the MAX before it was grounded, but it expects to receive its first one in January with first commercial service in March.

Low-cost Ryanair, one of Europe's largest airlines, has reportedly said it won't inform customers if they're scheduled to fly on one of its MAX aircraft as they're only allocated a day before flying.

When the MAX does return to service and travelers see the aircraft flying safely day after day, the hope is that the fear will fade and most people can go back to forgetting about what aircraft they're flying on, just as it used to be.

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