Fear of Flying: passengers worry about boarding Boeing 737 Max 8 jets

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- While teams dig through the rubble from Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 that crashed on Sunday, airline passengers at SFO are worried about flying on the same type of airplane-- the Boeing 737 Max 8.

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"This is very worrisome. Such a popular airplane, getting into a crash," said Dublin resident, Ranga Yerra at SFO.

The Ethiopian Airlines crash is the second major crash involving the popular Max 8 jet. In October, a Max 8 operated by Indonesia's Lion Air crashed into the Java Sea.

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"It just kind of makes you double think about it," said Rob Turnage who flies frequently and says he might try and switch flights, if he knew he was flying on a Max 8, but would not pay a change fee to the airline. "I'm kind of a cheap flier."

Seventy-two of the Max's are flown by US carriers: American Airlines, Southwest and United. All three airlines expressed confidence in the jets and are not offering waivers for people scheduled to fly on the Max 8 aircraft.

But on Monday, Senator Dianne Feinstein called on the FAA to ground the entire Boeing 737 Max 8 fleet.

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"If the fleet is grounded, it's going to cause some problems, but it's not going to be disastrous," said Chris McGinnis, an expert in air travel and editor of the Travel Skills blog on SF Gate. "There are hundreds of 737 Max 8s flying right now. I think it would be safe to get on a plane, but I would of course be nervous about it."

The FAA announced Monday that they are ordering a series of design changes to the Max 8 fleet. Boeing also said late Monday that they were deploying a software enhancement to their fleet in the coming weeks.
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