United Airlines will ensure passengers know their flight is operated by a Boeing 737 MAX when it returns to service and allow them to change flights if they are uncomfortable boarding the aircraft.

“We are going to be incredibly transparent for our customers. When they book a flight, if it indeed is on a MAX aircraft, they will absolutely know,” United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz told journalists Nov. 7 at the Aviation Club UK in London, where he was a speaker.

“If, for some reason, they get closer to their flight—including right before they board—and they determine they don’t feel comfortable or safe, we will absolutely rebook them at no extra cost or charge,” he said. “It is that important to us. We don’t assume everybody is going to jump back on that aircraft.”

Munoz also said he will be on board United’s first MAX flight when it returns to service, as part of his “proof, not promise” management approach.

MAX operations in the US were banned by FAA on March 13 as part of a worldwide grounding in the wake of two fatal crashes.

At that time, United had taken delivery of 14 MAX 9s, which were operating about 40 daily flights. The Chicago-based carrier was slated to add a another five MAXs in the second quarter of 2019 and 11 in the third quarter.

“We await the normal regulatory process that ensures that the aircraft will be safe to return. We will abide by that. We are not in a particular hurry to force them [the FAA] to do anything differently,” Munoz said. “At the end of the day, it really is a simple concept. It has to be safe and secure.”

Responding to a question on a fragmented reauthorization of the MAX across different jurisdictions, Munoz said United will follow the FAA’s lead, rather than waiting for other regulators to approve the type.

“There’s too many of them. Who do we wait for and who do we not wait for? The FAA is who governs us in the United States. We will follow their lead and hopefully most [regulators] will follow shortly thereafter,” Munoz said.

As the MAX gets closer to returning to service, other operators are beginning to consider their communications strategy and how public-facing they will make the MAX brand.

Speaking at the recent Airlines 2050 conference in London, Emirates Airline president Tim Clark urged Boeing to drop the MAX name.

“Get rid of that, mix it up and get the thing flying. I think people tend to have very short memories and a lot of people don’t know what aircraft they’re on,” he said.

Speaking at the same conference, TUI Airways managing director Dawn Wilson also addressed MAX branding. “We haven’t taken a decision at moment. We’re still working through how to return the aircraft to service, but it is a consideration,” she said.

Victoria Moores, Victoria.Moores@Informa.com