United: The Max is safe, and special rebooking policy will end

United resumed service on Max aircraft Feb. 11.
United resumed service on Max aircraft Feb. 11.

United will apply its normal policies to reservations made Thursday and beyond on flights operated with Boeing 737 Max aircraft.

United had resumed service on Max aircraft Feb. 11, after a nearly two-year hiatus resulting from the aircraft’s global grounding in March 2019 following two crashes that were a faulty flight system. To assuage lingering concerns about the safety of the plane, United has until now allowed concerned customers to rebook to a flight scheduled on a 737 Max to another aircraft type at no charge, or to receive a refund.

"The Boeing 737 Max is a safe and efficient aircraft which offers the latest amenities and technology for our customers and crew," the carrier said in an email Tuesday evening. "Now that our Max fleet has been serving our customers for several weeks, standard rebooking and change policies will apply."

Under the carrier's standard rebooking policies, flyers will have to pay any cost differential for the rebooked flight. United no longer charges change fees. 

United basic economy ticket holders are still allowed to change flights under a Covid-19 waiver that lasts through the end of the month. Once the waiver expires, basic economy ticket holders won’t be allowed to make itinerary changes, including for flights operated with a Max. 

Southwest and American are still allowing free changes away from Max flights. Southwest will allow such changes through May 31, its website says.

American customers booked on a Max can rebook on the next available flight or change their trip within 300 miles for free. The carrier doesn’t have any plan to change that policy, spokeswoman Rachel Warner said. 

Nevertheless, she said that American isn't seeing data to suggest customers don’t want to fly the Max. 


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