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Flyers Feeling Effects of American Airlines Flight Cancellations

Airline taking an estimated $350 million hit from the MAX groundings

by Business Traveler

July 14, 2019

This scene is becoming too familiar. A couple from Baltimore had a trip to London planned via American Airlines tickets booked three months in advance. Two days before their flight a call from the airline brought news that the long-planned departure flight had been cancelled. The airline did offer a substitute non-stop from Dulles, a 90-minute drive each way. That meant a $100 Uber ride verses the 20-minute scoot to the Baltimore-Washington International (BWI) hub they had planned.

The couple decided to forego one of their days in London and take the carrier’s next available flight to London out of BWI.

Getting to one’s planned destination from the airport booked and on the day requested within the contract should not be tantamount to winning the lottery.

However, travel on American Airlines and other carriers currently is more a matter of luck than license. To that end, American announced this weekend that it is, again, extending cancellations for the MAX. In total, approximately 115 flights per day will be canceled through Nov. 2.

“American Airlines remains confident that impending software updates to the Boeing 737 MAX, along with the new training elements Boeing is developing in coordination with our union partners, will lead to recertification of the aircraft this year,” the airline said in a statement on Sunday.

Similarly, United Airlines said Friday that it expects to cancel more than 8,000 flights through October because of the grounding of its Boeing 737 MAX planes.

American is the world’s largest airline and the second largest MAX operator in the United States. It has been placing other aircraft models on its busiest flights while canceling others and temporarily suspending direct flights on several classic routes. Some analysts quietly note they do not see the MAX flying again until at least the end of the year. Test flights to fix the software glitch on the Boeing aircraft failed last month and revealed new problems to address.

“Our Reservations and Sales teams will continue to work closely with customers who are impacted by these cancellations,” the statement said, and offered these responses to frequently asked questions:

Question: My flight was previously scheduled on a MAX. Will it be canceled?

Answer: Not all flights that were previously scheduled on a MAX will be canceled, as we plan to substitute other aircraft types. In total, approximately 115 flights will be canceled per day.

Question: My flight wasn’t scheduled to be on a MAX. Why has it been canceled?

Answer: A flight that was not scheduled as a MAX flight might be canceled to enable our team to cover a MAX route with a different aircraft. Our goal is to minimize the impact to the smallest number of customers.

Question: How will customers know if they are impacted?

Answer: American’s Reservations team will contact affected customers directly by email or telephone. Customers who booked through a travel agent will be contacted by their agency directly.

Question: My flight was canceled and I don’t want to rebook. Can I get a refund?

Answer: Yes. If a flight is canceled and a customer chooses to not be rebooked, they may request a full refund by visiting