The Boeing 737 Max return to Service and Competition: How Passengers' preferences would change due to the latent fear of flying
Fear of flying has no direct relationship with actual airline or aircraft safety. For those afraid of flying, the choice of an airline ticket and the related airplane is expected to be an important issue. This article uses a methodology to simulate the experience of purchasing unlabeled airline tickets to investigate whether individuals who are afraid of flying unconsciously change their choice depending on the ticket parameters. The Boeing 737 MAX, which became notorious for being grounded due to two recent accidents, was randomly assigned to airline tickets. This aircraft was compared with eight competing alternatives. The results demonstrate that in the event of a return to service, the passenger preference for this aircraft would be low comparable to that for competing modern airplanes that are less known to the North American public. Nonetheless, Boeing products continue to instill a sense of safety and trust in those afraid of flying.