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Kayak reports 15-fold increase in passengers filtering out Boeing 737 Max flights

737 Max 9s can resume flying after inspection, according to the FAA  (Getty Images)
737 Max 9s can resume flying after inspection, according to the FAA (Getty Images)

A popular online travel search engine has reported a noticeable increase in customers using a tool that allows them to refine their flight search to not include Boeing 737 Max aircraft.

Kayak originally rolled out the filtering tool in March 2019, and the increased usage follows an incident on an Alaska Airlines 737 Max 9 on 5 January, in which a window and part of the aircraft’s fuselage blew out shortly after taking off from Portland airport.

The Federal Aviation Administration subsequently grounded dozens of 737 Max 9s, though the planes will be allowed to fly again after inspection.

A statement from Kayak to The Independent noted that while the tool itself is “not typically the most popular filter used”, the usage of the Boeing Max 737 filter “saw a 15-fold increase” following the Alaska Airlines incident, “indicating aircraft type is, in fact, top of mind for travellers right now”.

“The jump — from low numbers — led to Kayak making the airplane-type filter easier to find.

“The company has also added the ability to filter specifically by the 737 Max 8 and Max 9 models, as the Max 8 is still in use across the world.

The statement added that “whether you’re searching by cabin class, flight quality or aircraft type, Kayak’s filters aim to provide travellers with all the information they need to make smart decisions and travel with confidence”.

Passenger confidence has understandably been rocked by the Alaska Airlines event, as well as a series of high-profile incidents over the past few years involving the 737 Max 8.

The future of the 737 Max remains uncertain, with the CEO of United Airlines recently saying that the airline will consider alternatives to Boeing’s next aircraft. Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary also revealed that he had previously voiced concerns over faults in the newly delivered planes.