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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Federal Aviation Administration grounded all 737 Max 8 aircraft Wednesday afternoon and perhaps one of the final flights was from Phoenix and landed here in Philadelphia. The moment of realization made for an uneasy flight for Lauren Ukkerd.
“I looked at FlightAware to see what kind of plane it was and I saw it was a Max 8, and I was like — I was a little nervous,” she said. “I got real anxiety and all I did was pray and say, ‘God, please let us have a safe trip cross-country.'”
Ukkerd is one of the last passengers to board a Boeing 737 Max 8. The FAA grounded all such aircraft. The decision was announced while her Phoenix-to-Philly flight was mid-air.
“Because I knew it was a Max 8, every bump we hit I was thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, is this plane going to fall out of the sky?’” Ukkerd said.
Some passengers didn’t realize they were on a model of aircraft linked to two separate deadly crashes in less than six months.
“The person sitting next to me said, ‘Are we on one of those planes?’ I said, ‘I have no idea,'” one traveler said.
Others knew, but didn’t seem to mind. But travel in the air, from within the United States, will now have to be done on other types of aircraft.
The FAA’s 737 Max 8 ban comes after mounting pressure from lawmakers and the public, and after newly-released satellite tracking data shows possible similarities between the most recent crash in Ethiopia and another from October of last year, involving the same type of aircraft.
“It’s a day late from the rest of the world. The rest of the world grounded the planes [Tuesday],” aviation attorney John Gagliano said.
Even so, Gagliano, a former Navy pilot, says he believes the decision by the FAA is a good one.
“It’s a defective product, it’s as simple as that. The Boeing 737 Max 8 is defective, it can fly itself into the ground,” he said.
In the United States, Southwest Airlines and American are the two major carriers which use this type of aircraft. Both have said there should not be any disruption.