Online Research suggests Boeing Will Face A Skeptical Flying Public When It Fixes the 737 Max Jets

 

Key Findings

  • The vast majority (77%) of travelers have been following the 737 Max story at least a good amount.
  • Nearly 9 in 10 (89%) think the jets were properly grounded, and most think they were grounded fast enough (59%)
  • Nonetheless there is concern that Boeing is too close to the FAA (60%) and 2 in 5 think the FAA did not do an adequate job when it initially certified the jet for flight.
  • Travelers are divided on whether the 737 Max jets can be fixed with software updates (48%) and better training or if they should be scrapped (41%).
  • Travelers are most apt to blame software (50%) for the problems with the 737 Max jets suggesting that software fixes may be enough to convince much of the flying public that the jet is safe.
  • 2 in 3 would fly on a fixed version of the 737 Max jets, but a majority would choose another airline (61%) or pay 25% more (55%) to avoid them.
  • Over 4 in 5 (82%) think Boeing should reimburse the airlines for the costs associated with the grounding.

 

 MeanMedian
How many trips do you take via airplane each year?7.45
How many business trips do you take by airplane each year?4.53
How many personal trips do you take by airplane each year?4.74

 

Frequent travelers like to travel by airplane and car over trains and especially buses.

 

How much do you like to travel via each of the following modes of transportation?AirplaneCarTrainBus
Like a great deal57%52%31%16%
Like a good amount27%30%28%21%
Like some11%14%28%23%
Do not like very much3%3%8%25%
Do not like at all2%1%5%15%

 

While all modes of transportation are viewed as safe, cars and buses are less likely to be seen as completely safe than planes and trains.

 

How safe are each of the following modes of transportation?AirplaneTrainCarBus
Completely safe42%40%30%27%
Mostly safe53%54%62%59%
Mostly unsafe4%6%7%12%
Completely unsafe1%0%1%3%

 

With automobiles, travelers are most concerned that bad driving leads to accidents.

 

How concerned are you about each of the following causes of automobile accidents?Human errorFaulty maintenancePoor vehicle designPoor manufacturingTerrorism/ deliberate

sabotage

Lack of maintenanceSoftware design/ malfunction
Extremely concerned53%32%23%29%29%28%23%
Very concerned26%27%27%22%21%31%24%
Somewhat concerned18%31%33%31%23%31%35%
Not concerned3%11%17%18%27%10%17%

 

With airplanes, there is little differentiation as all of the concerns tested were extremely concerning to between 3 and 4 in 10 respondents.

 

How concerned are you about each of the following causes of airplane accidents?Lack of maintenanceTerrorism/ deliberate

sabotage

Faulty maintenanceSoftware design/ malfunctionPilot errorPoor airplane designPoor manufacturing
Extremely concerned38%37%36%34%34%33%30%
Very concerned29%22%27%30%21%25%29%
Somewhat concerned21%29%29%24%29%25%28%
Not concerned12%13%8%11%15%17%14%

 

News of the 737 Max jets is top of mind for respondents.

 

How much have you heard or read about the problems with the Boeing 737 Max jets?Total
A great deal41%
A good amount36%
Some11%
Not very much8%
Nothing at all4%

 

Software issues and poor airplane design are considered the top two causes of the crashes.

 

What do you think caused the two crashes of the 737 Max jets?Total
Software design/malfunction50%
Poor airplane design31%
Faulty maintenance29%
Poor manufacturing28%
Lack of maintenance24%
Pilot error21%
Terrorism/deliberate sabotage12%
Other6%

 

Travelers overwhelmingly believe the right decision was made to ground the 737 Max jets.

 

Do you think the authorities made the right decision to ground the 737 Max jets until the problem is solved?Total
Yes89%
No7%
Don’t Know4%

 

Nearly 3 in 5 think the FAA grounded the jets quickly enough.

 

Do you think the FAA grounded the jets quickly enough in the United States?Total
Yes, quickly enough59%
No, not quickly enough32%
Don’t Know9%

 

There is a sharp divide among travelers as to whether the 737 Max jets need to be scrapped. A narrow plurality believes the 737 Max can be fixed with updated software and better pilot training.

 

Which is closer to your view about the safety problems with the 737 Max jets?Total
They can be fixed with updated software and better pilot training48%
The airplane must be scrapped due to fundamental problems with its design41%
Don’t Know11%

 

Travelers are also mixed on whether the FAA did a thorough enough job in originally certifying the planes to fly.

 

Do you think the FAA did a thorough enough job overseeing the certification of the 737 Max airplanes?Total
Yes46%
No40%
Don’t Know14%

 

A majority of travelers think Boeing has too much influence over the FAA.

 

Do you think Boeing has too much influence over the FAA?Total
Yes60%
No28%
Don’t Know12%

 

2 in 3 would be willing to fly a 737 Max after its been fixed.

 

Would you be willing to fly on a 737 Max jet after Boeing has fixed the problems with it?Total
Yes66%
No34%

 

The median length of time travelers think the fixes to the 737 Max jets should be tested is a quarter of the year.

 

How long should Boeing be required to test fixes to the 737 Max jets before it can be flown as normal again?Total
A day14%
A week11%
A month20%
A quarter20%
A year16%
Two years5%
More than two years6%
It should never be allowed to fly again7%

 

Despite a willingness by 2 in 3 to fly a fixed 737 Max jet, 3 in 5 would switch flights to avoid flying on one.  Nearly as many would pay 25% more to avoid flying on a 737 Max.

After the plane is fixed and considered safe, would you switch flights or airlines if it meant that you would not have to fly on a 737 Max airplane?Total
Yes61%
No39%

 

After the plane is fixed and considered safe, would you pay 25% more for your flight if it meant that you would not have to fly on a 737 Max airplane?Total
Yes55%
No45%

 

Travelers are more likely to trust the pilot’s union, the NTSB, FAA and the Airlines with their safety than Boeing, the Trump Administration or Congress.

 

How much do you trust each of the following to determine whether the fixes to the Boeing 737 Max make it safe to fly?The pilot’s unionThe National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)Airlines (e.g. American, United, Southwest)The Trump AdministrationBoeingCongress
Completely trust33%32%30%29%25%22%21%
Mostly trust34%33%30%36%22%30%23%
Somewhat trust22%26%29%26%16%28%28%
Do not trust11%9%10%9%37%20%28%

 

Travelers think Boeing should reimburse the airlines for the loss of use of their existing jets.

 

Should Boeing be required to reimburse airlines for not being able to use existing 737 Max jets?Total
Yes82%
No18%

 

Ovation MR conducted 221 interviews with flyers who take at least 4 trips by airplane each year with at least 2 of them being business trips.

Andrew Ribner is Chief Research Officer at OvationMR and is responsible for Online Panel and Online Sample Data Quality. He also consults with clients on sampling design for various types of online research campaigns and political polling. Andrew can be reached at andrew.ribner@ovationmr.com

To learn more about OvationMR Business Traveler Panel solutions or our other Online Sampling and our online methodology for ensuring your success you can visit Panel Quality & Recruitment or Download 2019 PanelBook and/or contact us at info@ovationmr.com

 

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