ST. LOUIS – On Wednesday, the US added itself to the list of countries and airlines temporarily grounding Boeing 737 MAX planes as investigations continue after a recent pair of Max 8 crashes killed all passengers and crew aboard.
A MAX 8 flight from Los Angeles into St. Louis-Lambert International Airport was in mid-flight when the announcement was made.
Officials at St. Louis Airport said Southwest is the online airline at the airport operating the 737 MAX planes, with roughly 10 flights total a day.
“I was concerned and worried we weren’t going to make it tonight,” said passenger Lisa Stapleton.
She and her husband, Marv, were pleased to hear their flight was not being canceled. The couple was headed to Florida on Southwest Airlines to watch the St. Louis Cardinals play.
The announcement that Boeing’s 737 Max planes were being grounded comes at a busy travel time at St. Louis Airport. The middle of March is when many travelers take advantage of spring break.
Southwest is the only air carrier with 737 Max planes flying in and out of St. Louis Lambert International Airport, according to airport director Rhonda Hamm-Niebrugge. She does not anticipate the grounding will cause major disruptions.
Southwest Airlines said less than 5 percent of its daily flight should be affected.
Sarah Kolell is a frequent flyer and believes any delays passengers experience are worth the peace of mind knowing they are safe.
“There’s always the scheduling concerns but at the end of the day safety is the priority,” she said.
Meanwhile, Boeing released a statement in support of the Federal Aviation Administration and President Trump’s decision, saying in part: “Boeing has determined—out of an abundance of caution and in order to reassure the flying public of the aircraft’s safety—to recommend to the FAA the temporary suspension of operations of the entire global fleet of 371 737 MAX aircraft.”
How to know if you’re booked on a 737 MAX 8
For passengers, there are three fairly simple ways to know if you’re booked to fly on a 737 MAX 8.
1. Check your airline site or app. Clicking on the flight number will show you what type of airplane is assigned to the flight.
2. Check the registration of the airplane on the FAA site. Before you board, note the registration number which is clearly marked on the side of the plane. Plug that number into the FAA registration database here.
3. Aviation apps such as FlightRadar24 make it easy to see the type of airplane on which you’re traveling.