Consequences of Grounding the Boeing 737 MAX for the American Airlines Operation

As American took the first 14 of their 24 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft out of service following President Trump’s grounding, planes were left sitting in Barbados, Cancun, Boston, Orlando, St. Croix, Tampa, Santo Domingo, Port of Spain, Santo Domingo, Miami and Puerto Plata.

The first 36 MAX flight cancellations affected schedules of 5500 passengers. Roughly speaking we’ll be looking at perhaps twice that many flights on an average day.

Already American’s fleet is stretched thin with the grounding of some of the Boeing 737-800 aircraft whose interiors had been modified at Paine Field by Aviation Technical Services. Several other 737s were out of service already as well — a total of 47 Boeing 737 aircraft out of service at the time of the grounding.

Bad weather had damaged a number of planes at Dallas Fort-Worth earlier in the day and at least 35 aircraft were out of service there — 11 737s, 8 Boeing 777s, 2 Boeing 787-9s, 4 Airbus narrowbodies, 7 regional jets and 3 MD80s. Systemwide a total of 137 planes were out of service including for scheduled work.

Entirely apart from whether it was the right decision to ground the MAX, it appears this may tax an already-stretched operation.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I wonder if this buys more time for current AA management. They now have other factors to blame rather than their crappy product failing to compete with better product (Delta, etc.).

  2. Gary – how about a post on what to do if we are booked on a flight scheduled to be operated by a MAX. Start calling the airline? Wait and see what they do? Any ideas how long the grounding might last, and if airlines will take it day-by-day, keeping the MAX assigned to routes (say 3 days from now, or a week from now) until they know it will be impossible to operate with that plane.

  3. @Hepworth once your flight has cancelled you’re entitled to rebook or take a refund. Airlines haven’t announced policies for future travel on flights that have not yet been cancelled. We’ll know more in a few hours.

  4. Dodged a bullet today
    Was scheduled to fly 737 max westjet yvr to toronto
    Called air france last night even before ban and spent 4 hrs convincing them since the wife was neevous ( she had no idea…) I just wanted earlier flight from yvr to have longer connection at toronto for paris flight
    As we checked in for 9 am flight the ban was announced and our 11 am was cancelled..
    Would have been a mess
    YVR has many max in and out

  5. @Hepworth — looks like it’s not all 737 MAX flights getting cancelled, they may just sub in a 737-800 and cancel the flight that was originally supposed to be cancelled on that other aircraft. Thinking seems to be to pull aircraft from markets with lots of flights to cover those with fewer flights.

  6. Gary
    your updates on american aircraft flights is most valuable, even if the news is negative.
    thanks, and keep us posted.

  7. @SCHLOSS… I have to agree the blog definitely creates a more informed travel consumer. When you are in the middle of traveling you don’t have time to figure out all the maneuvers you must do to get from point A to point B after the airlines have sold you a non-refundable ticket that is the critical part of your travel plans. You have to inform yourself beforehand and get prepared to deal with all the surprises airlines can throw at you.
    By way of example, I know a couple that missed their flight for a cruise that left the same day.
    Their ticket was worthless, and they had to pay full fare to catch their ship in Columbia instead of FLL. A $2,000 penalty to salvage a $10K cruise. Had they arrived late again, they may have been stuck in Columbia. Or worse, Chicago.

  8. Can we stop calling it “President Trump’s Ban”

    Trump did not make the decision – he announced it. The FAA made the decision.

  9. Why isn’t there a article on WN impact on the loss of the 737 MAX? Why is this blog clearly always about AA? It should be renamed, A View From AA. So one sided its sad.

  10. AA must be planning on a long term grounding.. my flight from MIA-DCA for June 1 was supposed to be a 737-800 (not a Max) and they have updated that to a crappy A321. Hopefully it goes back to a 737-800. I hate almost every Airbus AA flies.

  11. The jackscrew discovery led to the FAA decision.

    “A screw-like device found in the wreckage of the Boeing 737 Max that crashed last Sunday in Ethiopia indicates the plane was configured to dive, a piece of evidence that helped convince U.S. regulators to ground the model, a person familiar with the investigation said late Thursday night.”

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