National Consumers League

Consumer group welcomes grounding of 737 MAX 8 fleet, urges U.S. airlines to waive cancellation fees to mitigate impact on flying public

March 14, 2019

Media contact: National Consumers League – Carol McKay, carolm@nclnet.org, (412) 945-3242 or Taun Sterling, tauns@nclnet.org, (202) 207-2832

Washington, DC – Within months of each other, two new Boeing 737 MAX 8s crashed minutes after take-off, causing the deaths of 346 passengers and crew. Wednesday, following the lead of regulators in more than 45 countries, the Trump Administration ordered the grounding of all 737 MAX 8s in service in the United States. This is a common-sense step that will help protect the flying public while the Federal Aviation Administration investigates the safety of the 737 MAX 8 fleet.  

The grounding of all 737 MAX 8s will likely lead to significant schedule disruptions and cancellations for consumers who were scheduled to fly on routes using those aircrafts. NCL is calling on U.S. airlines to waive any cancellation or change fees that may be incurred by consumers whose travel plans are affected and who need to book new flights.  

The following statement is attributable to John Breyaultvice president of public policy, telecommunications and fraud at the National Consumers League: 

“In the wake of two fatal 737 MAX 8 crashes, the Trump Administration took the right step to ensure that the flying public is not put at unnecessary risk. Until it can be conclusively determined that all Boeing 737 MAX 8s are safe, the Federal Aviation Administration should keep these planes on the ground. American lives are far too valuable to risk in the name of airlines’ and Boeing’s profits. 

Unfortunately, this move will likely significantly inconvenience customers and may require rebooking on alternate flights. In a normal environment, customers needing to make such changes would incur outrageous $250 change fees or other cancellation penalties. We call on all airlines whose flights are affected to waive change and cancellation fees or other penalties for any passenger that needs to rebook on a different flight.”

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About the National Consumers League

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America's pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit www.nclnet.org.