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Passengers Share Mixed Reactions To Boeing 737 Max 8 Jets That Continue To Fly

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

No Boeing 737 MAX 8 flights to, from or inside Europe - they are suspended. Today the European Union Aviation Safety Agency joined dozens of other regulators worldwide in grounding the plane. The 737 MAX 8 is the brand-new aircraft that crashed in Indonesia last fall and then again in Ethiopia on Sunday.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

All of this puts pressure on the Federal Aviation Administration here in the U.S., which, so far, has issued no such stop - which means that today 737 MAX 8s have made dozens of flights to and from airports across the U.S., including Reagan National Airport just outside Washington, D.C.

KELLY: Sable Valero, a music teacher, was coming home to Virginia from Trinidad and Tobago, connecting through Miami. Her American Airlines flight landed safely at National. That flight was on a Boeing 737 MAX 8.

SABLE VALERO: But I didn't know till I was on the airplane. I was reading an article. And I was like - oh, my gosh. And then I looked down, and I see - oh, no. So I got a little anxious.

CORNISH: Valero had read about the Ethiopian Airlines crash then saw her own plane's model number in the safety manual right before her flight took off. It made her nervous.

VALERO: Very scared - (laughter) - very scared. Had I known ahead of time, I would have tried to do something differently. I'm not sure what that would have been - maybe ask the airlines if there was any other options or try to find some other way home (laughter).

CORNISH: It's not known for certain what caused the Ethiopian Airlines crash. But Valero's husband, Daniel Lee, questioned the FAA's decision to allow the planes to continue flying during the investigation.

DANIEL LEE: Clearly, it's a bad decision. If other countries decided to ground it due to safety concerns, it's hard to understand how it could be a good decision to keep it flying unless there was some information that we didn't know about.

KELLY: Brittany Burgess was on the same flight from Miami. She is a health care consultant. She travels a lot, and she also didn't know she'd be flying on a MAX 8 until she boarded the plane. But she says she didn't worry.

BRITTANY BURGESS: I'm looking at numbers and probability. And I figure - well, you know, it just happened recently. So what are the odds that it would happen again? In fact, I booked another flight, and my next flight in a few weeks is on another 737 MAX 8.

KELLY: Burgess says she trusts the word of the FAA. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.


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