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.
Brand-new Air Italy 737 MAX 8 looking sharp – Photo: Air Italy
This past Friday, Air Italy received their first 737 MAX 8 aircraft at a delivery ceremony at Paine Field in Everett, WA. Dignitaries from Air Italy were joined by his Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, Group CEO for Qatar Airways. In July of 2016, Qatar Airways agreed to purchase a 49% stake in the airline (known previously as Meridiana), with the brand being re-launched as Air Italy in March 2018. As with any event involving Mr. Al Baker, this was a fancy affair, and included a few priceless soundbites.
When the Air Italy brand launched earlier this year, they announced their goal to disrupt the Italian market, and create a â€œcredible alternativeâ€ for Italians. From their home base of Milanâ€“Malpensa Airport, Air Italy intends to offer both short- and long-haul routes. The airline will shortly be launching flights to the United States, with a daily service to New York (begins 6/1) and four-times-per-week service to Miami (starts 6/8). The next planned long-haul destinations for Air Italy are Bangkok and Mumbai, with service start dates yet to be announced.
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 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 past and future meetÂ – theÂ old 737 livery on the stairs and theÂ the MAX’s new livery on the jet
This week, Boeing took the time to not only show off their improved production line for the 737 MAX, but also the first (and second) aircraft. Over two days, AirlineReporter visited Boeing’sÂ 737’s factory in Renton, Wa to learn more about the 737 MAX and how Boeing will goÂ about producing them.
The MAX is the fourth generation of the venerable 737 and will replace the 737 Next Generation (or 737 NG). The first 737 first flew in April 1967 and, although it might have the same name and aÂ similar appearance, the aircraft has changed dramatically over the years.
The MAX will come in three main flavors: the MAX 7, MAX 8, and (wait for it) MAX 9. I have to say thatÂ it’s a bit weird to have the “MAX” [aka maximum] with a 7, but then also an 8 and 9? Oh well.
Boeing’s new Advanced Technology winglets are a distinctive feature of the 737 MAX.
The number of passengers in each respective version of the aircraft will be similar to the 737 NGs. The MAX 7 will carryÂ 126 to 149 passengers, the MAX 8 will carry 162 to 200 (with the MAX 200 for Ryanair), and the MAX 9 will have 180 to 220.Â These changes are taking the 737 frame, technology, and cost savings… well… to the MAX!