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.
An American Airlines Boeing 737-800 – Photo: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren | JDLMultimedia
Recently, I had the chance to fly pretty similar flights from Seattle to Puerto Rico and back on Delta Air Lines and then American Airlines.
I had not flown on two domestic airlines back-to-back with so much the same, and I found there to be a pretty stark differences.
To San Juan, I took two Delta Boeing 737-900ERs with the newest interior (one was only a few weeks old). I flew from Seattle to Atlanta (shocking), then on to San Juan. On the way home, I took two American 737-800s. One had the Boeing Sky Interior cabin, but still shared entertainment screens. The second was an older 737-800, with no sky interior and also shared screens (but more on that later). I flew out of San Juan, through Miami, and then on to Seattle.
The cost of the tickets were exactly the same: $236 each way. I also earned Alaska Airlines miles for both flights, so I didn’t care about miles on either, nor did I have any status [update: I did not realize that Delta only gave me 50% Alaska miles vs American’s 100%. Still knowing this, it doesn’t change any of my choices or opinions since I am not much of a miles guy]. I was also in window seats and had similar seat-mate setups.
I went into these flights with no expectation of doing a story, but the fact that on similar flights, there was an obvious winner, I became motivated. And yes, you will have to wait until the end to see which airline won no cheating!
The Miami-based Thales 787 simulators are already operating around the clock, according to Boeing. Photo: Chris Sloan / Airchive.com
Reported and Photographed from Miami by: Chris Sloan, Airchive.com Editor-in-Chief
Miami is now Boeing’s ’œSim City,’ but Airchive’s home base has been an aviation hub dating back to the early days of the industry. Hallowed names like Pan Am, National, Eastern, Glenn Curtis, Rich International, and Air Florida have played pivotal roles in the world’s aviation industry from South Florida. OK, maybe that last name is a bit of a stretch.
Today, Miami boasts America’s second-busiest international airport and number one international cargo airport ’“ MIA, American Airlines’ bustling Latin American hub, and the UPS hub of the Americas. Perhaps the most iconic name in aviation, Boeing joined South Florida’s famed aviation industry in 1997 when they established a joint-venture with Flight Safety, FlightSafety Boeing Training International.
In 2002, Boeing bought out their partner. They join Airbus’ Americas Training Center and the Pan Am Flight Academy (just purchased this week by Japan’s ANA) in the little Miami suburb of Virginia Gardens, now home to one of the largest concentrations of flight simulators and commercial aviation training of any city in the world.