VIDEO: Windsor Travel Agent Urging Patience During Boeing Max 8 Ban

Travel agents are bracing for a busy day now that both Canada and the United States have grounded the Boeing 737 Max 8 and Max 9 aircraft.

The decision to ban the aircraft comes amid safety concerns arising from the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines flight that killed 157 people on board, including 18 Canadians.

Similar bans are already in place in the European Union, China, Australia and a growing list of other countries.

The owner of Goliger's TravelPlus on Howard Ave. in Windsor says they've been swamped with calls from clients wondering about flight cancellations and flight changes.

Sarah Hupalo says airlines are scrambling to make alternate arrangements.

"Everybody wants their trip to be as planned. Most of the airlines, they'll most likely allow people to make changes or cancel," she says. "It looked like this was possibly going to happen, but obviously in North America it's going to be on a bigger scale because it's not just the aircrafts here, but also any aircrafts attempting to come in here from other countries."

As a travel agent, Hupalo says she's never experienced anything like this before.

"These are pretty popular planes. We haven't really experienced anything like that. We've dealt with strikes and hurricanes and weather and snow storms, but this is a different ball game for us as well," she says. "So we just kindly ask people to be patient. We're getting back to people as quickly as we can."

Locally, Air Canada, Sunwing and WestJet will be impacted at the Windsor Airport.

Hupalo says if you have a trip planned anytime soon, be sure to give your travel agent or airline a call to confirm the details.

"They'll probably have something figured out in the next few days, but it's going to take some time, so people do need to be patient," she says. "If you're travelling in the next couple weeks, you'd want to find out if you are on one of the affected aircrafts. Obviously they're going to expedite any kind of investigation because this is very costly for the airlines."

Canada's two biggest airlines, Air Canada and WestJet, operate a total of 37 Max 8's and it's estimated the ban could cost the airlines as much as $100-million in the first 10 days.

You can listen to the entire interview with Hupalo on Thursday's edition of the Afternoon News at 3:50pm.



— With files from AM800's Kathie McMann