When the world aviation agencies started grounding the 737 MAX, I don’t think anyone in the travel business ever thought that it would take this long before it returned to the sky.

I realize that many travelers don’t know or care what type of plane they’re going to be flying when booking a flight. As long as it’s safe, cheap and fits their schedule, they’re happy. That baffles me because I always check the aircraft types before booking and I’m always happy to bend my schedule for a larger bird.

For example, I used to fly Los Angeles (LAX) to Miami (MIA) every few weeks to see my 91-year-old dad before the pandemic. Most of the flights were on a narrow-body 737 or an A321. However, they usually had one wide-body 777 flying so I would always choose that plane because the chances of getting upgraded were much higher and their business class has lie-flat seats. But even if I didn’t get upgraded, I could get Premium Economy for free, which was still better than the first class seats on a 737 or A321.

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Occasionally, that flight left Miami at the crack of dawn and my dad would give me a hard time, asking me why I’m torturing myself by getting up so early (a 3:45am wake-up since my dad lives an hour away from the airport.) He and my sister just didn’t get it. They’d rather sleep in whereas I’d rather sleep on the plane.

One plane I avoided on American Airlines was the 737 MAX because I heard horror stories about how tight the seats were in coach, first … even the bathrooms were said to be tight. And this was all well before the crashes that took the lives of 346 people in Indonesia (Lion Air) and Africa (Ethiopian Airlines).

I flew on a 737 MAX for the first time just two weeks before the second crash, from New York (LGA) to MIA and that was back in February 2019. A few weeks later, the planes were finally grounded by the FAA on March 13, 2019, following the second crash.

No one knew it was going to last this long and no one wanted to fly them again (including me) every time the airlines publicized bringing them back into their schedules.

It looks like the time is coming because according to Bloomberg, “American will fly the Max, contingent on that approval, daily on one Miami-LaGuardia-Miami routing. The flights can be booked starting Oct. 24, and customers will be made aware that they will be flying on a Max, the airline said.”

This time might be different because it’s been over a year and a half and because the plane has been scrutinized so much due to Boeing’s and the FAA’s loose safety tests in the beginning.

I will still make sure I’m not flying the 737 MAX but not because it’s not safe, but because it’s just not comfortable. You would think after this long, and all the scrutiny and testing, it’s got to be the safest plane in the sky but personally, I would avoid it because it’s not that comfortable.

Of course, this new release date could be pushed back again. But if it’s not you will be happy to know that with the airlines’ new customer-friendly change policies, you can ask to be put on a different type of aircraft and, most likely, for no extra charge.

Photo courtesy of American Airlines

9 Comments On "AA Is Bringing Back The 737 MAX - Would You Fly It?"
  1. David Miller|

    I will NEVER set foot into this death trap UNTIL it is proven, by many YEARS of safe operation, that this airplane IS REALLY safe.

  2. Don Edmands, Jr.|

    When I was in the USAF, they always said, the safest unit to fly with was the one that had the most recent accident. They would be the safest. I would gladly fly the MAX. But now that you told me it’s uncomfortable, I will take a second look. Thanks.

    1. Johnny Jet|

      I need to update the post because it wasn’t too uncomfortable but my flight was only 2.5 hours. And each airline is different with their configurations. I was mostly speaking about American Airlines

  3. Samuel R. Kephart|

    Hell “No”… The design of this aircraft was rushed for competitive reasons with Airbus. The engine mount design significantly changed the CG (Centor of Gravity) envelope for the MAX model relative to the prior 737 iterations. Rather than properly re-engineering the engine mount (which would have slowed-down time-to-market), a decision was made to fix the CG problem with a piece of hidden software code to counter the issue… the MCAS – Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System. This sytem was tied to only one of two Angle of Attack sensors on the MAX. A false reading could (and did) cause the plane to pitch forward automatically, with catastrophic results in two cases, and unexpected but recoverable incidents in some other instances. Boeing now claims that the MCAS software has been improved/updated/tested and that they will add a manual override protocol for training future cockpit crews. From my perspective, it’s too little, too late. The core issue is a Day 1 bad CG design flaw. No amount of improved sofware to mask a performance flaw is really safe. As someone very wise once said, “You can’t make chicken salad out of chicken shit, no matter how much mayonnaise and mustard you add.” Boeing has been furiously touting the new software “condiments” instead of admitting their gross negligence…. and scrapping the program.

  4. James E Pettis|

    I flew on a 737 Max 2 weeks before 1st crash. At 6 ft tall, I found it to be comfortable and relatively quiet. But, I am not a frequent flyer.

  5. FacsRfriendly A A|

    Boeing should never have shut the 757 line. It would have been a natural for the MAX with it’s longer landing gear. When you at an airport look at the gear differences on the 737 and the A320. No problem with the larger engine on the A320. Would I fly the MAX. If it were scheduled, yes.

  6. mel grazda|

    I flew an Air Canada MAX 8 from Shannon to Toronto in Sept 2018. I paid extra for a seat with more legroom. I enjoyed every aspect of that flight except for the sinfully minuscule lavatories. An unsafe place for senior citizens with difficulty even turning around to sit. Further proof that the airlines really don’t care about your safety in the pursuit of greater profits. I would avoid the MAX 8 only because of the restrooms and only on flights over two hours. Too much is riding on the reinstatement of MAX 8 flights. I think the planes are now safe to fly because of all the scrutiny on its systems and training. Just wish they had, as mentioned in a previous comment, not chosen to mate bigger engines with the short gear height of the 737. I realize they hoped this would be the replacement for the 757, also one of my least favorite airplanes. Personally, I will always try to pick one of the few airplanes remaining, with seating for two along the windows.

  7. Dan Nainan|

    I truly can’t believe that great jets like the 757, 747 and A380 are being phased out, while a deadly plane like the 737MAX is being brought back. I for sure will never set foot on one. The bathroom on the American Airlines model was enough to make me say never again.

    1. Johnny Jet|

      Sadly, you’re probably going to have to fly one in a few years they will be almost unavoidable.

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