Oakland passenger panics before takeoff thinking he was on Max 8 plane

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- The decision to ground the Boeing's 737 Max aircraft announced by President Trump on Wednesday, comes after the same decision was made by safety regulators in more than 40 countries.

But the announcement came after some of those planes already took off across the U.S.

RELATED: San Francisco Airport passengers react to US grounding of Boeing 737-MAX airliners

In an email to ABC7 News, a spokesperson for the Oakland International Airport confirmed that Southwest Airlines does fly the Boeing 737 Max 8 into Oakland.

Passenger Eric Yeung thought he may have been on a Max 8 plane Wednesday morning, on flight from into Oakland for a day-long business trip from Los Angeles.

He says he only realized he may have been on a Max 8 plane after he read it on the safety manual after he already boarded the plane.

"I was like, maybe I should let me girlfriend know, and let me parents know," says Yeung.

However, it turns out that the MAX 8 and 737-800 share the same safety manual, and that he was not on a Max 8.

Southwest Airlines confirmed to ABC7 News that there were no Max 8 flights to Oakland on Wednesday.

Still thinking he was onboard a Max 8 plane, and after reading about the two crashes, in Indonesia and Ethiopia, Yeung says the next 15 minutes were intense.

"These two incidents happened in the first eight to 15 minutes. So, if we are able to take off and have no problems in the first 15 to 20 minutes, then (we) should be safe and sound," explains Yeung.
Yeung admits that he did get an email from Southwest informing him that he could change flights, but that it didn't specify why.

Southwest is the only airline that operates the Max 8 out of Oakland International Airport.

In an email to ABC7 News, Southwest says only five flights were canceled on Wednesday, out of its entire fleet of 34 Max 8 airplanes.

That's still not good enough for passenger Imran Memon.

Accompanying his pregnant wife on a business trip to the Bay Area, Memon says his bigger concern is why the FAA waited so long to ground the planes.

RELATED: Aviation analyst not worried about flying on 737 Max 8 in U.S.

"That is definitely a concern. I am not planning to fly again for a while until this sorted out," says Memon. "I saw Europe, the U.K., China, India, did ban this 737. And after that, the U.S. reacted to it. But, better late than never."

The FAA says they waited on more specific information before deciding to ground the fleet.
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