The first 737 MAX takes off from Renton - Photo: Chu-Yi Chuang

The first 737 MAX takes off from Renton – Photo: Chu-Yi Chuang

Yesterday, the Boeing 737 MAX successfully completed its first flight — and landing. It took off at 9:46 am (PST) to the cheers of several thousand Boeing employees and media. Wait… wasn’t that earlier than planned — it sure was!

I often poke fun of “Boeing time,” which refers to them often being late for test flights. I might not be able to use the term anymore. We will see. Either way, I was quite impressed that they took off early, but they also had some motivation — the weather.

The first Boeing 737 MAX after landing at Boeing Field

The first Boeing 737 MAX after landing at Boeing Field

The weather reports for the day did not look great. In the morning, it was overcast and raining. Boeing wanted to complete its almost three-hour test flight, and land at Boeing Field (BFI) before things got worse. It all worked out. It doesn’t mean I kept dry, but it was well worth it!

The 737-MAX taking off for its first flight

The 737 MAX taking off for its first flight

BOEING 737 MAX FIRST FLIGHT: Follow us live

Earlier today, the Boeing 737 MAX successfully completed its first flight. We have been doing things a bit differently and sharing our live coverage of the flight here. Later, we will update our story with photos and more information. Think of this as more of an evolving story, and don’t forget to come back for more!

Several thousand Boeing employees and media braved the rain to witness the first flight of the 737-MAX

Several thousand Boeing employees and media braved the rain to witness the first flight of the 737 MAX

The 737 MAX took off on its first flight at 9:46 am (PST) to the cheers of several thousand of Boeing employees and media. The plane flew for nearly three hours, before landing a few miles away at Boeing Field (BFI) at about 12:32 pm. You can watch a live feed from Boeing and we will continue to cover the event live on our Twitter feed below:

Up, up and away! The 737-MAX leaves the ground on its maiden flight. We'll catch up with it soon at Boeing Field.

Up, up, and away! The 737 MAX leaves the ground on its maiden flight. We’ll catch up with it soon at Boeing Field.

Hainan's inaugural flight, operated by a Boeing 787-8 (B-2739), from Changsha to Los Angeles on final approach.

Hainan Airlines’ inaugural flight, operated by a Boeing 787-8 (B-2739), from Changsha to Los Angeles on final approach.

Hainan Airlines, the largest privately operated carrier in China, commenced Los Angeles’s newest non-stop service to the Chinese mainland on January 21. The twice-weekly flights, operated by a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, will connect LAX to the capital of Hunan province, Changsha (CSX). AirlineReporter was invited to be on the ramp at LAX for the arrival of the inaugural flight from CSX.

Each economy class seat on LAN has a AVOD screen and a cupholder that is built into the tray table - Photo: Ben Granucci | AirlineReporter

Amazing that economy class arrives (almost) at the same time as first – Photo: Ben Granucci | AirlineReporter

One conversation between a passenger and a colleague of mine went, “How long does it take to fly to Los Angeles?”

“About 12 hours.”

“OK, and how long does it take in economy?”

“About 12 hours; it’s the same airplane.”

“I’ll need to think it over, I’ll call back another time.”

“Yes, sir, economy and business travel take place in the same dimension.”

A couple years ago, I worked at the reservations call center of a major airline. Though every aviation-related profession comes with its share of strange, funny, and horrifying stories, I believe that call center agents get very close to knowing how passengers are thinking and feeling (good and bad). Maybe due to the the personal disconnect of talking on the phone, people often said things they might not be willing to say “in real life.” I wanted to share some of the more memorable (i.e. funny/horrid) stories that happened in my call center. Since these stories are true, the carrier that I worked at will remain anonymous.