Flight check: How to determine if you're booked on a Boeing 737 Max 8
Published Wednesday, March 13, 2019 11:35AM EDT Last Updated Wednesday, March 13, 2019 12:45PM EDT
Despite international pressure Canadian airlines Westjet and Air Canada continue to operate their fleets of Boeing 737 Max 8 jets, the same type of aircraft involved in two crashes that killed 346 people in a span of five months.
Air passengers have been reaching out to the Canadian airlines questioning their continued use of the Boeing 737 Max 8 in the wake of Sunday’s crash in Kenya that killed 157 people, including 18 Canadian citizens and several more permanent residents of Canada.
Customers can check what their aircraft type is directly with the airline or a travel agent, while online bookings show either the name or the aircraft or a three-letter or digit code.
The code for the 737 Max 8 is 7M8.
Websites including seatguru.com can provide a flight’s aircraft type by entering the airline, flight date and flight number.
The ‘details’ tab 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.
Air Canada operates 24 Max 8 aircraft while WestJet has 13 in its fleet.
Air Canada has a “flexible rebooking policy” for customers who do not want to fly on the 737 Max 8.
“For our customers who for their own personal reasons do not wish fly on the 737, a flexible rebooking policy is in place which includes options to change their flights to another aircraft, if available, space permitting,” an Air Canada spokesman told CTV News.
“Based on information and data collected from previous flights and ongoing consultations with government safety regulators including Transport Canada and the Federal Aviation Administration, we have full confidence in the safety of our fleet and operations.
“Air Canada follows and implements recommendations and advisories from manufacturers and governmental safety regulators. This includes, previous 737 Max bulletins reinforcing existing procedures which all Air Canada crew were already trained on.”
Air Canada has been forced to cancel flights to London after the U.K.’s Civil Aviation Authority banned the aircraft from its airspace following the tragedy.
Since Sunday’s crash, the European Union and more than 50 countries around the world, including Australia, India, Singapore, Ethiopia, Indonesia, and China, have grounded or closed their airspace to the relatively new Boeing plane.
Five months earlier, the same model of aircraft flown by Indonesia’s Lion Air plunged into the ocean and killed 189 people.
A spokesperson for WestJet said the company “remains confident” in the safety of their fleet.
“We have flown five different variants of the Boeing 737 since 1996, and the fleet currently operates around 450 safe daily B737 departures,” the airline said.
Sunwing Airlines has temporarily grounded its four Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft but says the move has nothing to do with safety issues.
Transport Minister Marc Garneau is due to provide an update Wednesday morning on whether Canada will follow other countries by closing airspace to the Boeing aircraft.
The Air Canada Pilots Association has called for “proactive action to ensure the safety of the Canadian travelling public.”
In the U.S., the Federal Aviation Administration is facing mounting criticism for insisting the Max 8 jet is airworthy.
But at least one aviation expert told CTV News the Boeing jet is the gold standard in aircraft safety and claimed the FAA isn’t going to jump the gun without concrete proof.
— with files from The Canadian Press