Boeing 737 MAX 8 bans — what Canadian travellers should know

Boeing 737 MAX 8 bans — what Canadian travellers should know
On Tuesday, several countries — including the United Kingdom, France and Germany — said the aircraft cannot fly over their airspace. Other countries have also taken action since Sunday’s accident, forbidding airlines from operating the plane.

While Canada is not among the countries grounding or banning the jet, moves by other countries impact Canadian airlines and travellers.

Here’s what Canadians should know.

Canadian airlines Air Canada, WestJet and Sunwing Airlines fly 41 planes of the type that crashed in Ethiopia.

Air Canada has 24, WestJet flies 13 and Sunwing has four.

Air Canada has cancelled its Halifax to London flight, which was scheduled for Tuesday night.

“While we do have MAX aircraft that fly to Gatwick and Paris from Halifax, these flights are seasonal and do not start until late April. There are no impacts at this time,” the statement read.

The airline added that it is active discussions with Transport Canada, Boeing and other Canadian operators over the aircrafts and will provide passengers updates if anything changes.

Meanwhile, Canadians have taken to Twitter to demand answers regarding the planes and any flight changes.

He said that airlines may be scrambling to arrange alternate plans for travel in the next 48 hours, and this could lead to delays. In this case, he said airlines are obliged to put passengers on the next available flight.

“This became known today. If they cancel a flight today, it’s probably out of their control. It’s hard to shuffle things that quickly,” Lukacs said.

If delays extend for several days, however, this is a situation in which he says passengers could be eligible for compensation.

“If you cancel flights two weeks from now, that would be a whole separate issue,” he added.

Lukacs noted that there is no law in Canada that allows passengers who feel unsafe flying on the Boeing planes to refuse to fly and demand a ticket refund.

“Legally, the passenger has no right to cancel their tickets or change their tickets,” he said.

Gabor said he hopes airlines will take this unique situation into account.

“I would call on airlines to let passengers change their flights if they do not feel comfortable flying on that particular model,” he said.

Flight Centre travel agency also confirmed that Canadian airlines are not waiving flight-change or cancellation fees for such passengers. The stance from Air Canada and WestJet Airlines Ltd. comes amid a wave of requests from worried travellers who have, so far, been excluded from goodwill policies.

While Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau said on Monday that Canada would not ground the Boeing aircrafts, he changed his tone a day later.

Garneau indicated on Tuesday that Canada is now considering grounding the planes, if needed.

“I have directed my group of experts to be ready for all possibilities, including a decision to ground the MAX 8,” Garneau told reporters.

The minister added that he has cancelled all his meetings for the day in order to come to a decision.

Boeing is standing by its plane amid the grounding and bans. On Tuesday, the company issued a statement saying it has “full confidence” in the aircraft.

“Based on the information currently available, we do not have any basis to issue new guidance to operators,” it said.
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