Elaine Chao travel to DC aboard a 737 MAX days after the Boeing model crashed in Ethiopia: report

Secretary of transportation Elaine Chao, right, with the U.S. Maritime Administration Administrator Mark Buzby, speaks to reporters outside the West Wing of the White House. (Associated Press)

Count the U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao as a traveler unbent by concerns about the Boeing 737 MAX 8.

Chao reportedly took a non-stop flight from Austin, Texas, Washington, D. C., to board one of the planes – just a few days after the same model crashed near the capital of Ethiopia, killing 157 people from 35 countries.

A source aboard the same aircraft confirmed that Chao was on board the Southwest flight with her staff, according to Politico.

The secretary, whose husband is Senate majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., was in Austin to talk about a new Transport Section of the council that will help facilitate infrastructure renovation projects.


Chao’s willingness to fly on a 737 MAX 8 is in stark contrast with the leaders of the European Union, which grounded the Boeing model and banned from their airspace after the crash in Africa, in which eight Americans died. China and Indonesia also grounded the model.

In the united states, two flight attendants’ unions urged the carriers on the basis of their MAX 8s to the middle of investigating the cause of the Ethiopia crash, which followed a similar crash of the model in Indonesia in October that killed 189 people.

The United States, from Tuesday, was still allowing MAX 8s to continue to fly. In spite of the two recent accidents abroad, the Federal Aviation Administration has said that not enough evidence is present to justify the grounding of the appliances, Politico reported.

Chao told reporters on Monday that the FAA was taking the accident “very seriously” and was reviewing them “very good.”

“I have asked the FAA deputy administrator to continue to monitor this situation and report at the Office of the Secretary, and me personally, on the latest developments,” she added.


This is not the first time Chao has more attention for her courage. When a group of protesters approached her and her husband last summer for his apparent role in the Trump administration “zero tolerance” policy at the U.S.-mexico border, the river Chao piped back: “Why don’t you leave my husband alone?”

“I have a difficult wife,” McConnell said then. “I’m really proud of her.”

To see when your next flight is on the affected Boeing aircraft, you can visit

Fox News’ Adam Shaw and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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