With spring break approaching, airlines scramble to replace grounded planes

With spring break approaching, airlines scramble to replace grounded planes

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - For the owner of Schewe Travel Associates, the work day began a lot earlier usual Wednesday.

“I’ve gotten texts and emails from both West Jet and Air Canada starting at 5 a.m.,” said Linda Schewe.

President Trump’s order to ground all Boeing 737 Max 8 and Max 9 jets has airlines scrambling to make adjustments.

Two of those aircraft ended up grounded in Hawaii. One in Kahului and the other in Kona.

Both of the United Airlines flights were in the air Wednesday morning when the President’s order came down.

In the meantime, several more flights destined for the islands were cancelled ― on Air Canada and Westjet.

With an annual spring break ski trip just days away, Schewe says she’s been swamped with calls from concerned travelers.

“The only thing I’m doing today is answering questions,” she said.

For this one trip alone, close to 100 of her clients are affected.

“This is extremely rare. Everything is happening on a rapid basis,” Schewe said.

“West Jet travelers, don’t worry. We’re all set. We’re not affected by the Max 8. However, Air Canada we’re on a day-to-day standby situation.”

A spokesman from the state Department of Transportation says there’s no telling how long grounded aircraft will be out of service..

“I know the airlines are working to accommodate their passengers weather it be on a different plane in their fleet or working with other airlines,” said spokesman Tim Sakahara.

To prevent more delays, Schewe says the airlines have already started rerouting aircraft that aren’t fully booked.

She says the diverted planes will be replaced by smaller aircraft. Schewe warned when that happens seat assignments could change.

She said, “If somebody gets rearranged seating wise we’ll just deal with it when we get to the airport.”

If you have travel plans coming up, you’re advised to check with your airline to see if anything has changed.

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