After a portion of an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 jetliner’s fuselage blew out in midair minutes after taking off from Portland, Ore., on Jan. 5, the Federal Aviation Administration grounded about 170 Max 9 planes, causing airlines that rely heavily on the aircraft to cancel thousands of flights and inconveniencing many passengers.
On Wednesday, the F.A.A. approved inspection and maintenance procedures for the planes, clearing the way for the grounded Max 9 planes to fly again.
Airlines said they planned to resume flying the Max 9s this week. Here’s what passengers should know about the plane and their rights if they want to avoid flying on it.
Which airlines use the Max 9?
Of the 215 Boeing Max 9 airplanes flown globally, United Airlines operates 79, the most of any airline, and Alaska has 65, according to Cirium, an aviation data provider. Their combined fleets represent about 70 percent of the Max 9 jets in service.
Other operators relying on the Max 9 include Panama’s Copa Airlines, Aeromexico, Turkish Airlines, FlyDubai and Icelandair.
Airlines generally share detailed information about all the planes in their fleets on their websites.
When will the airlines resume flying the Max 9?
Alaska said in a statement that final inspections, which take up to 12 hours for each plane, are underway. The airline said that it planned to bring the “first few planes” back for scheduled flights on Friday.
United said in a statement that it was preparing Max 9 planes to return to service beginning on Sunday. However, the planes “may be used as spares” as soon as this Friday, said United Airlines spokesman Josh Freed.
Copa, which grounded 21 Max 9 planes, said in a statement that it would be “gradually reinstating flights that had previously been canceled” beginning on Thursday and returning to a full schedule on Sunday.
How can I tell if I am booked on a Max 9?
Travelers can typically find information about their plane type when they book their flights online, either during the seat-selection process or elsewhere on the airline’s website.
Passengers may also be able to find the aircraft type on an airline’s mobile app, in the details of their reservation after they’ve booked. For Alaska, this is available in the app’s “Details” section. Flight tracking websites, such as FlightAware, also have plane information if users search for specific flights using the flight number.
But this is no guarantee. Even if passengers know in advance what plane…