TAMPA, Fla. (FOX 13) - Passengers at Tampa International Airport were forced to rearrange their travel plans after the Federal Aviation Administration ordered all Boeing 737 MAX series aircraft to be grounded until further notice Wednesday.
The decision, announced by President Trump, follows mounting pressure in the days after a deadly crash in Ethiopia that killed 157 people on Sunday. It’s a reversal of the FAA’s stance earlier this week to keep the planes in the air.
"Boeing is an incredible company. They are working very, very hard right now. And hopefully they will very quickly come up with the answer, but until they do, the planes are grounded," said Trump.
The FAA has grounded MAX 8 and MAX 9 aircraft for now. Three MAX series planes scheduled for take-off from Tampa Wednesday afternoon were canceled, affecting WestJet, American and Southwest airlines at TIA. Some passengers felt the impact.
“We boarded, we sat down and we weren’t even, not everyone was even boarded yet and the captain came out and said that we’re grounded that we’re on that plane,” said Southwest passenger Kate Caravella.
And once they got off the plane, Caravella said ticket agents felt the heat.
“I rebooked, and I said thank you. She said I wish more passengers were like you because everyone’s really upset,” said Caravella.
Across the country, American Airlines told FOX 13 that 24 planes are affected and a Southwest Airlines spokesperson said they have 34 planes impacted. Those two airlines operate the most MAX series planes in the U.S.
“The only reason I’d be okay with it is if they truly knew something is wrong with this plane,” said Southwest passenger Raquel Malin.
Investigators are looking into what caused two crashes with the Boeing 737 MAX 8 plane in five months, one in Indonesia killing 189 people and another in Ethiopia killing 157 souls onboard on Sunday.
For passengers learning about the crashes, they said their confidence in flying is not shaken.
“They certainly happen, and I think we're always learning from everything that happens and things are getting better,” said Josh Malin, who boarded a Southwest flight at TIA.
Southwest passenger Peter Hudgin said he’s concerned but happy to know he wasn’t boarding that aircraft Wednesday.
“I’m sure they're on top of it, and they'll do what has to be done to reassure the flying public and everything,” said Hudgin.
American and Southwest airlines said the MAX series planes are a very small part of their operations, but the airline companies are rerouting planes to cover all of the flights. Spokespeople for the affected airlines said any passengers affected can rebook or get a refund for canceled flights.