Earlier this year, a Boeing 737 Max 8 crashed in Ethiopia, claiming the lives of all 157 people on board. The crash was the second tragic loss of a 737 Max 8 full of passengers within several months, leading aviation authorities to ground the planes until the company and safety officials could determine what went wrong.
Plenty of news regarding the troubled planes has surfaced in the intervening months, revealing that certain software features of the planes’ computer systems are likely to blame for both crashes. Pilots are understandably upset that the issue wasn’t addressed after the first crash (or, even better, before the planes were allowed to fly), but Boeing now has an even larger problem on its hands: Nobody wants to ride in its shiny new planes.
As the Los Angeles Times reports, air travelers are now wary about climbing aboard a 737 in the future, and understandably so. A new survey released by the Atmosphere Research Group suggests that nearly half of all travelers would actually be willing to avoid a 737 Max flight even if it meant having to pay more for an alternate trip.
A full 20 percent of respondents said they’d be completely avoiding the 737 Max if and when the fleet is finally cleared for travel once more. A mere 14 percent said they were definitely willing to take a trip in one of the troubled planes.
The survey, which included some 2,000 recent fliers who answered 38 questions for the poll, doesn’t look good for Boeing, which now has around 350 of the 737 Max aircraft collecting dust while officials sort out how to proceed. The company tested software upgrades that could prevent similar crashes in the future, but with two incredibly tragic crashes within the last year, convincing the traveling public that the planes are air-worthy again will take a lot of work.