Frustrated passengers have been taken off planes, and in some cases stranded at airports, after the Federal Aviation Administration issued an emergency order grounding Boeing 737 Max jets in the wake of an Ethiopian Airlines crash Sunday and a prior deadly accident in Indonesia.
President Donald Trump announced the FAA order on Wednesday, and U.S. airlines acknowledged that it would lead to canceled flights around the country.
One woman, Amber H., 22, who didn’t feel comfortable giving her full last name, told NBC News her Southwest Airlines flight to Orlando was headed to the runway at Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C., when the order came down.
“The pilot already had explained that we were on one of the Boeing 737 Max 8 planes but that he was confident in his ability to fly it,” she said. “Not even 10 minutes later he announced that we had to go back” because of the emergency order.
Amber said she now expects to miss a few days of work because she wasn’t able to book a direct flight to Orlando until Saturday.
The FAA said it decided to ground the jets after it found that the Ethiopian Airlines aircraft that crashed Sunday, killing 157, had a flight pattern very similar to the Lion Air accident in Indonesia in October that left 189 dead.
Southwest Airlines has the most flights with the Boeing Max series aircraft in the U.S., about 150 flights per day, out of the airline’s total of about 4,100 flights daily.
American Airlines has roughly 85 flights a day on the Boeing Max 8 and Max 9 jets. United Airlines has about 40 such flights.
Another passenger in Washington, D.C., Ethan Levin, told NBC Washington that he found out about the FAA order from his father.
“My dad called me, and he told me that all of the 737s were being grounded by Trump, so we didn’t get an announcement till, like, 10 minutes later after that call,” Levin said.
Fadia Shashan, a passenger on a 737 Max 8 that flew from Las Vegas to Houston, said passengers weren’t told about the emergency order until after they landed at William P. Hobby Airport.
“It’s terrifying, you know,” Shashan told NBC-affiliate KPRC of Houston.
Another passenger, Lars Gunnar, flew on a 737 Max 8 to Nashville International Airport on Wednesday.
“I had faith in the flight checks and just kind of hoped for the best,” Gunnar told NBC affiliate WSMV in Nashville. He said that as he was in the air, he could only hope that “it was quick if anything happened.”
The FAA emergency order followed similar directives from a growing number of countries around the world — including Canada, European nations and China — after Sunday’s crash.
The Chicago-based Boeing Co. said it supported the order and had recommended that the FAA ground its entire global fleet of 371 jets that are Max 8 or Max 9 models.
“Boeing has determined — out of an abundance of caution and in order to reassure the flying public of the aircraft’s safety — to recommend to the FAA the temporary suspension of operations of the entire global fleet” of these jets, the aircraft manufacturing giant said.
Doha Madani is a breaking news reporter for NBC News.
Alex Johnson is a senior writer for NBC News covering general news, with an emphasis on explanatory journalism, data analysis, technology and religion. He is based in Los Angeles.