Indy travelers feeling effects of grounded Boeing jets

A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 jet flies over Mesa, Ariz., en route to Phoenix's Sky Harbor International Airport Wednesday afternoon, March 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
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INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — Those arriving at Indianapolis International Airport for flights to Denver Thursday morning found their flights canceled, ultimately because of a blizzard in Colorado.

But Southwest Flight 957 would have been canceled even without the snow because it was scheduled on a Boeing 737 Max 8 jet. Wednesday, the FAA grounded all Boeing 737 Max 8 and 9 jets in the wake of two fatal crashes.

Christa Clouse arrived at the airport early Thursday morning after failing to get through to Southwest on the phone overnight.

"I'm pretty upset," Clouse said. "They gave me a full refund, which is nice, but it doesn't make up for...not notifying me my flight was canceled or sitting on the phone all night. It's been a nightmare, honestly."

Southwest operates flights to and from Indianapolis on the Boeing jets in question.

American and United Airlines are the other two carriers that use the Boeing 737 Max 8 and 9 jets for for U.S. flights. Though none operate out of Indianapolis, passengers using connecting flights could fly aboard a Boeing 737 Max jet.

Still, the jets make up a small percentage of each airline's fleet. Of those carriers' 15,000-plus daily flights in the U.S., just 275 involved now-grounded jets. But it is spring break many, which is a busy time for air travel, and each canceled flight or connection means finding alternatives for passengers.

Hannah Park, who's been trying to get home to Denver for two days knew it wasn't going to be easy with the grounded planes and the winter storm.

She ultimately decided to fly to Kansas City, rent a car and drive nine hours to Denver. But Park said she was okay with that.

"Honestly, I feel better about it...because I feel they should be checking on what's going on," she said. "Overall, I'd rather have them figure out the problem."

At this point there is no indication of how long the Boeing Max jets may be grounded, meaning anyone flying anywhere over the next few weeks should double-check their flights for changes.