At the time of the grounding, American, Southwest, and United were the only US-based operators flying the MAX with a total of 72 aircraft in their fleets, according to Cirium data. Those were promptly sent to long-term storage and further deliveries were suspended.
Over the last 20 months, travelers have been regularly bombarded with news about just what went wrong.
While inexperienced pilots were initially blamed for the accidents, it soon became clear that the airplane’s automation was largely at fault. This revelation made travelers uneasy, and as bad news piled up, the belief that the MAX was unsafe became pervasive in travelers’ minds.
The MAX has now been so thoroughly reviewed by regulators and reworked by Boeing that it should be considered incredibly safe.
Additional pilot training requirements should help instill even more confidence in the airplane, but it’s hard to shake the feeling of fear that many travelers will encounter in the near term.
For that reason, airlines have responded with special customer policies as they bring the airplane back into service.