Browsing Tag: 737 MAX

Poor Mr. MAX, famous for all the wrong reasons. But the dumpster fire otherwise known as 2020 gave the 737 MAX a chance to hide from the news cycle as Boeing fixed its design issues. The FAA held Boeing’s feet to the fire with the recertification, and today I have more than enough trust in the plane to fly it. I got my chance on a medium-haul flight from Miami International to New York LaGuardia earlier this summer.

After all the build-up I was expecting to be either overwhelmed or underwhelmed. But instead, I was just … whelmed. It’s a gorgeous plane, sleeker than the 737’s previous iterations. It’s quieter, has cooler onboard lighting, and plenty of under-the-hood operational benefits for the airlines. I felt very safe on the plane, and about as comfortable as one can expect to be in domestic economy. But as usual, the airline’s choice of onboard product made the biggest impact on the experience. Ultimately, the most memorable parts of the flight were the *amazing* window seat views I got over Miami and New York.

Hop onboard with me for a few thoughts on American’s 737 MAX 8, and for lots of photos and videos from the flight.

The 737 factory in Renton, WA

The 737 factory in Renton, WA

If you have been keeping up with the 737 MAX, you know that the news hasn’t been super great about the aircraft. There are many, many stories you can read out there about what has been going on and we are not wanting to re-hash it all. We can all agree that things are not going well, and it will likely still be a while before anyone has a chance to fly on one (saying that you will want to). Since we are a group of aviation fans that try to celebrate aviation, even in negative times, I decided to just share some really awesome shots of the 737 MAX that our Francis Zera recently took. Feel free to share your thoughts on what is going on with the MAX in the comments; otherwise just enjoy the photos!

Some 737 MAX aircraft parked in Renton.

Some 737 MAX aircraft parked in Renton

All aboard TF-ICU - next stop, ORD.
Boarding TF-ICU, aka Dyrhólaey at Iceland’s Keflavik International Airport, next stop, Chicago’s O’Hare International

The backstory

Loyal readers will recall our 2017 review of Saga Premium (which, at the the time, was called Saga Class) on Icelandair’s venerable 757-200s.

Since then, Icelandair has added several Boeing 737 MAX 8 jets to their fleet (they ordered a total of 16 of the MAX in both the -8 and -9 variants), using them on routes to U.S. destinations on the east coast and upper midwest, along with several European routes.

I flew SEA-KEF on a 757, then returned via Chicago on a 737 MAX 8, as Seattle is, unfortunately, beyond the working range of the MAX 8.

So, two years on, what was it like to fly Saga? Candidly, I was a fan of the last trip, so the memory still felt fairly fresh. My outbound flight was on TF-FIR, aka Vatnajökull, aka 80 years of Aviation, aka the glacier livery.

This AvGeek was stoked at the opportunity to fly on Vatnajökull, even though it was parked at a corner gate between two diagonal jetways at SEA, making photos pretty much impossible that day. IMHO, it’s the one of prettiest planes in the sky today, tied for that honor with Icelandair’s Hekla Aurora livery on TF-FIU.

TF-FIR landing at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in 2017. I wasn't able to get out on the ramp to get pre-flight photos for this trip, so we'll have to make do with an existing image

TF-FIR landing at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in 2017. I wasn’t able to get out on the ramp to get pre-flight photos for this trip, so we’ll have to make do with an existing image

The outbound flight from SEA to KEF was as good as the last time – I was in seat 1A for this flight, which is in a bulkhead row. The seats themselves are the same as we reviewed in 2017. They feel even more dated now, especially when compared to contemporary options even on some domestic US carriers, but they’re still very comfortable and offer a generous amount of recline.

The Boeing 737 MAX 8. Image: Boeing.

The Boeing 737 MAX 8 – Image: Boeing

Today, Air Canada, in a surprising move, has decided to replace their current Airbus narrowbody fleet with the offering from the competition – the Boeing 737 MAX.

They have ordered a total of 61 of the aircraft, with 33 going to the MAX 8 and 23 to the larger MAX 9.  The “up to 109” part of the transaction comes from 30 purchase rights and 18 options. At list prices, the firm orders would be a transaction of over six billion dollars, but you better believe that the airline made a stellar deal for the planes.

“We are pleased to announce our agreement with Boeing for the purchase of 737 MAX aircraft as part of the ongoing modernization of Air Canada’s fleet,” said Calin Rovinescu, President and CEO of Air Canada. “Renewal of our North American narrowbody fleet with more fuel efficient aircraft is a key element of our ongoing cost transformation program and the enhanced passenger cabin comfort provided by the Boeing MAX will help us to retain Air Canada’s competitive position as the Best Airline in North America. Our narrowbody fleet renewal program is expected to yield significant cost savings. We have estimated that the projected fuel burn and maintenance cost savings on a per seat basis of greater than 20 per cent will generate an estimated CASM reduction of approximately 10 per cent as compared to our existing narrowbody fleet.”

By 2019, Air Canada plans to have an all Boeing long-haul fleet, and a majority Boeing short-to-medium haul fleet. Currently, the airline operates a fleet of 27 Airbus A319s, 36 A320s and 10 A321s.