Air travelers may not typically pay attention to what model of jet they're flying on, but that might change after two crashes in five months involving the same model of Boeing. It's called the 737 Max 8, per a Wall Street Journal explainer video. Both crashes—Sunday's in Ethiopia killed 157 and an October crash in Indonesia killed 189—remain under investigation, and so far authorities have made no links between the two. Both planes went down in clear weather. Details and developments:
- Which airlines? American Airlines flies 24 of the jets and Southwest has 34, and neither airline has plans to ground them, reports CNN. United does not fly them, though it does use the larger Max 9 model. The Max 8 first flew in 2017, and Boeing has a full list of airlines worldwide using it here. Some nations, including China and Indonesia, have grounded all their Max 8 flights for now.
- 2 lucky travelers: The BBC reports that a Greek man named Antonis Mavropoulos was supposed to be on Sunday's Ethiopian Airlines flight but missed it after arriving at the boarding gate two minutes late. "I was mad because nobody helped me to reach the gate on time," he says. Now he calls it his "lucky day." A Nairobi man, Ahmed Khalid, also missed the flight, because his connecting journey was late.
- How to tell? Travelers can generally find out in advance what type of plane they'll be on through their airline's website, notes USA Today. But fliers will almost certainly be out of luck if they hope to cancel for that reason and still expect to get a refund.
- More trouble: The crew of an older model of Boeing, the 737-900, declared an emergency Sunday night while descending into Houston, reports the AP. All ended well, but an engine shut down, and one passenger reported seeing flames coming from the engine in the air.
- The first crash: Authorities still have not determined what caused the first 737 Max 8 crash in October, though the pilots had made sharp altitude changes, suggesting they "may have been effectively trying to wrestle against in-flight control systems designed to prevent a stall," per the Guardian.
- Stock down: Boeing was having a rough day on the stock market, though it had pared a pre-market loss of 11% to about 6% midday, reports MarketWatch. Airline stocks in general were down.
- 30 nations: Sunday's victims came from at least 30 different countries, including eight passengers from the US, reports the New York Times. Few details were available on the American victims. The AP has snapshots of the other passengers currently identified.
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