Airline passengers react to grounding of Boeing 737 Max 8 in Canada
CTVNews.ca Staff, with files from CTV Atlantic, CTV Montreal, CTV Toronto and CTV Vancouver
Published Wednesday, March 13, 2019 6:34PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, March 13, 2019 8:38PM EDT
Canada and the United States on Wednesday joined some 40 other countries in grounding all Boeing 737 Max 8 passenger jets from their airspace, after the model was involved in a second deadly crash in less than five months.
Transport Minister Marc Garneau said he made the decision after reviewing satellite-tracking data that indicated “a possible, although unproven, similarity” between the Ethiopian Airlines jet that crashed last weekend and the crash of a Lion Air flight in Indonesia last October.
The decision to ground the fleet is expected to cause major travel headaches for passengers, particularly because it comes in the middle of March Break – one of the busiest travel times of the year for families.
Experts say that travellers should be prepared for delays, especially if they are scheduled to fly on smaller airlines.
Across the country, Canadian passengers reacted with a mixture of frustration and disappointment about the effect the grounding will have on their best-laid travel plans, though some expressed relief about not having to fly on an aircraft that may be dangerous.
Here is a round-up of some of the reaction:
Halifax Stanfield International Airport
The airport says that there are two frequent flights that use the aircraft – one to London, U.K., that runs four times per week and another to Toronto, which runs five times per week.
“Well, I had two cruises back-to-back, so I’m out at least $3,000, plus this…you know, $4,000 or $5,000.” – passenger Brian Wentzell
“We want to make sure they’re on a safe plane. The kids are oblivious, of course. It’s just the parents that are worried.” – Kelli, the mother of a high school student travelling with classmates to Europe for March Break
“It’s just unfortunate in my travel plan. I didn’t plan on staying in Halifax. I have nothing to wear. I’ve just got my medicine and that’s about it.” – unnamed traveler
“There’s nothing you can do about it. I’d rather they cancel the flight than have an inexperienced pilot run into a problem.” – unnamed traveller
Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport
“I came here expecting to get on my flight and then I found out everything was cancelled. (It) kind of sucks because I flew here on a 737 Max 8 yesterday, actually.” – unnamed traveler
“We are getting lots of calls that are asking us what kind of equipment am I travelling on. Most of the people that we’ve been handling are those that are travelling in the near future so they haven’t travelled yet. It’ll be easy to recuperate their money.” – Tony Fragapane, owner of Westmount Travel
Vancouver International Airport
“If I’m relieved, I don’t know. But I’m a little ticked off because I have a business appointment this afternoon.” -- traveller Juan Escania
“Frankly, I didn’t know I was on a 737. I’m relieved. I’d rather be safe than take a chance.” Indira Mangal, passenger bound for her niece’s wedding in Toronto
“It’s a little bit disturbing, but what can you do? The chances of getting run over walking across the street (are) greater than flying one of them.” – traveller Gene Hollingshead
“If they find something and they want to ground an airplane that I’m going to be on, I’m OK with that.” – traveller Scott Lawrence
Toronto Pearson International Airport
“We wondered when we got on the plane why we’re flying it, but anyway, good precaution, great safety feature…glad that’s happening until we figure it out.” – passenger Chris Power, who was on board a 737 Max 8 as Garneau’s announcement was being made
“It pushes (my trip) back a day, but hey, I’m in Toronto. There’s worse places to be, right?” – Noel Kingwell, a Tampa Bay-bound passenger
“Better safe than sorry, eh?” – passenger Steve Giles
Edmonton International Airport
“I do think it’s the right call to ground these planes.” – Tim, a passenger travelling to Phoenix
“It’s a brand new plane and if it’s for our safety, then I think it’s a good thing.” – unnamed traveller
“The most frustrating thing right now is trying to get information from WestJet and Air Canada on how to proceed. They’re not flying the Max. That’s about all we got.” – Lesley Paull, founder of Paull Travel