Count U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao as one traveler unbowed by concerns about the Boeing 737 MAX 8.
Chao reportedly took a nonstop flight from Austin, Texas, to Washington, D.C., aboard one of the aircraft – just days after the same model crashed near Ethiopia’s capital, killing 157 people from 35 countries.
A source onboard the same flight confirmed that Chao was onboard the Southwest flight with her staff, according to Politico.
The secretary, whose husband is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., had been in Austin to discuss a new Transportation Department council that will help facilitate infrastructure renovation projects.
Chao’s willingness to fly on a 737 MAX 8 stands in stark contrast to the leaders of the European Union, who grounded the Boeing model and banned it from their airspace after the crash in Africa, in which eight Americans died. China and Indonesia also grounded the model.
In the U.S., two flight attendants' unions urged carriers to ground their MAX 8s amid investigations into 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, as of Tuesday, was still allowing MAX 8s to continue flying. Despite the two recent crashes overseas, the Federal Aviation Administration has said not enough evidence exists to justify grounding the aircraft, Politico reported.
Chao told reporters on Monday that the FAA was taking the accidents “very seriously” and was reviewing them “very carefully.”
“I have asked the FAA deputy administrator to continue to monitor this situation and report up to the Office of the Secretary and me personally on the latest developments,” she added.
This is not the first time Chao has drawn attention for her audacity. When a group of protesters approached her and her husband last summer for his apparent role in the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy at the U.S.-Mexico border, Chao piped back: "Why don't you leave my husband alone?"
"I've got one tough wife," McConnell said afterward. "I'm really proud of her."
To see if your next flight is on the affected Boeing aircraft, you can visit Flightstats.com.
Fox News' Adam Shaw and the Associated Press contributed to this report.