Malaysia Airlines plane crash: Tragedy heightens anxiety for families waiting at Sky Harbor Airport

PHOENIX - The Malaysian Airline tragedy won’t stop people from flying in and out of Phoenix’s Sky Harbor Airport, but it certainly heightened anxiety for some waiting for international arrivals Thursday.

Dawn Brasch is a host family with EF High School Exchange Year. She was waiting to welcome her twelfth exchange student on a connecting flight from London, who was traveling with a group of seven others, when she learned about MA17.

News of the crash immediately had her double-checking flight schedules. 

“It worries you, you wonder where they are flying, what kids are flying at what time and where they're flying over,” Brasch said.

Parents who had sent their children to the United States were equally anxious to hear from Brasch when they were safe on the ground.

“The families are just up waiting for their children, waiting to hear they've touched down and landed and their host family has greeted them.”

Brasch says even when you know the flight you’re expecting isn’t involved, you still feel unsettled thinking there were likely families just like yours waiting at an arrival gate for a flight that would unexpectedly never land.    

We also spoke to a retired pilot Ron Nielsen.

He says what this tragedy means for travelers is that airlines will probably change how they navigate around Ukraine and those flights could be longer. 

Also, Nielsen says instances like this force commercial airlines to re-evaluate their safety measures which could help more travelers in the long run.

Hear more of his interview here.

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