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Boeing 737 MAX 8 grounding: What to know if you’re booked on a flight out of YVR

Vancouver travellers are being warned to check their flights and to be patient as Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft were grounded continent-wide.

The move, announced separately by Transportation Minister Marc Garneau and U.S. president Donald Trump on Wednesday, came after two of the planes were involved in fatal crashes in the last five months.

At Vancouver International Airport, there were immediate repercussions, with Air Canada flights to Calgary and Montreal on MAX 8 aircraft scrapped on Wednesday and Thursday.

According to the airport, Air Canada, WestJet and Sunwing are the only airlines operating MAX 8s out of YVR.

“Air Canada is flying to their hots spots, Cancun, [Puerto] Vallarta, those types of destinations almost exclusively aboard those aircraft, so there is a huge impact here in the west, particularly out of YVR,” said travel expert Claire Newell with Travel Best Bets.

Air Canada also says it flies the craft from YVR to Hawaii, California and some domestic locations.

Both Sunwing and WestJet said they use the aircraft interchangeably with other models in their fleet, and couldn’t speak to which specific routes would be affected. On its website, Sunwing said it uses the aircraft on routes that include western Canada to the Caribbean.

WestJet MAX 8 aircraft grounded at YVR on Wednesday included flights arriving from Calgary and Toronto.

Newell said before stressing out, travellers flying out of YVR can first check whether their flight is actually scheduled on a MAX 8 using a website like

However, she said travellers will need to be patient while airlines deal with the “logistical nightmare” of re-scheduling hundreds of flights. Sunwing operates four of the aircraft, while WestJet operates 13 and Air Canada 24.

Travellers can also reach out to their travel agent or directly to their airline, but should expect delays.

“They are handling it, but in a sequence. This time next week things will be organized, but right now it’s a wait and see,” she said.

“For me, I have my own son leaving on Sunday, we’re just waiting for the airline to contact us. My advice is hang tight, I think they are going to do their best to get the majority of people on board and rerouted on their own aircraft.”

Newell said some passengers’ departure times may be shifted by hours or even a full day, they may have stopovers added, or they may be bumped entirely and eligible for compensation.

Affected passengers are also being allowed to re-book their flights with no additional penalty.

Travellers facing cancellations at YVR that Global News spoke with on Wednesday signaled a willingness to be patient while airlines scrambled to re-route them.

“Obviously in the moment somebody has to make a really difficult decision that’s going to impact travel,” said Mark Walman, who found his flight to Toronto grounded.

“But if it’s for everybody’s safety and there’s not enough information to keep those planes running, I think you have to support that decision.”

Traveller Anika Green expressed a similar sentiment.

“If my flight were changed by an hour or two, so be it — I’d rather arrive late than not at all,” she said.

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