The big travel news this week is that the FAA gave the green light to Alaska Airlines and United Airlines to bring their Boeing 737 Max 9s back into commercial service. This, of course, is in response to the frightening January 5th incident that took place on Alaska Airlines shortly after takeoff from Portland, Oregon (PDX). At 16,000 feet, a 60-pound door plug blew out from a nearly new Boeing 737 MAX 9, leaving a gaping hole in the fuselage. Miraculously, no one was killed but the incident raised some serious questions … and it turns out Boeing and Alaska knew of the potential dangers. RELATED: Saturday Night Live’s Alaska Airlines Skit is Full of Zingers
The incident also instilled a lot of fear in passengers who don’t trust either Boeing or the 737 Max. If you recall, the smaller 737 Max 8 was grounded in 2019 for almost two years after two deadly crashes in which a total of 346 people died. These flights were Lion Air Flight 610 on October 29, 2018 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 on March 10, 2019.
Boeing deservingly had a PR disaster on their hands and it was looking like something similar might happen following the latest incident. I don’t think it’s going to be as bad since no one died and the FAA quickly stated that the aircraft is safe to fly. In fact, Alaska Airlines’ Chief Operating Officer Constance von Muehlen sat in the seat next to the door plug on the first flight, telling CNN she has full confidence in the aircraft.
However, not everyone feels the same way as Constance, including some JohnnyJet.com readers. When I asked my readers if any of them were afraid to fly on the 737 Max, I got a few responses. CJ wrote in saying, “I am one of those “fear of flying people.” I will try not to fly the 737 Max if I can avoid it. I have enough anxiety getting on a plane to begin with. And … I worked for a major airline and fly for free when I can get on standby. Pretty sad, I know.”
Dan N., who splits his time between NYC and Miami, emailed saying, “Absolutely no way I’m flying 737MAX. No way!!!”
If you feel the same way, there are a few easy ways to avoid Boeing 737 Max 9 jets. One is knowing that both Alaska and United have stated they will allow passengers who don’t feel comfortable flying on this aircraft to be accommodated.
But a better way is to avoid booking the Boeing 737 Max 9 altogether. One way to do this is to choose any U.S. airline besides Alaska or United since they’re the only two that are currently flying it. Or use the filter on travel booking website Kayak, which allows users to exclude any planes they don’t want to fly on.
Just input your city pairs and dates and then hit search. You will be given a slew of options, including the option to exclude any types of planes, including the 737 Max 9.
According to Scripps News, Kayak says “ever since Jan. 6, the day after the door plug flew off an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9, they have seen an increase of 15 times the amount of folks searching to exclude a Max 9 in their travel plans.”
Keep in mind, some users on social media feel differently, like @loftisshannon who wrote on Threads, “Hey, hubs and I are flying on the first approved 737 max 9 post inspection. Probably the safest plane in the air!”
Post by @loftisshannonView on Threads
How do you feel about flying the Boeing 737 Max 9? Do you feel it’s safe or would you rather avoid it altogether?
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