Skip to Content

Flights Search Engines Are Starting to Tweak Results to Avoid Boeing 737 Max for U.S. Travel

Trying to keep track of all the airlines—or entire countries—that have grounded the Boeing 737 Max 8 is becoming a challenge. The Federal Aviation Administration has quickly become isolated with its call that the plane is safe to fly.

In much of the world, it’s bad news for Boeing, which insists that the plane is fine. But if a traveler is nervous about boarding a 737 Max 8, the groundings help you avoid a charge for changing flights. At least, that’s true outside of North America, where things get trickier.

American Airlines will charge its usual fees. United flies the 737 Max 9, a larger plane, but has said that it is open to helping people find alternatives. Southwest doesn’t charge a change fee but passengers do have to pay the prevailing fare at the time they switch. Air Canada and WestJet will also enforce their usual changes to switch flights.

If you have yet to book, there’s more flexibility. Travel agents are increasingly responding to the concerns. CWT, a business travel management company, told Reuters that while avoiding the 737 Max 8 is possible, it could mean fewer options for flights and higher prices.

Kayak.com plans to add a filter to its search system so users can exclude certain aircraft types. But even if other travel sites don’t add such a capability, they usually will indicate the type of aircraft a flight uses. Fortune checked Expedia, Travelocity, and Orbitz. When searching for a flight, each one listed has a “details & baggage fees” option. One of the details is the type of plane. It’s a little clumsier but, if you’re nervous, you can make an informed choice up front.