This article informs you about my experience flying with the new Boeing 737 Max 8, an aeroplane that has a very sorrowful start of entry into service. My experience is based on three flights between London-Wroclaw via Warsaw.
Boeing 737 MAX is a fourth generation of the Boeing family. It focuses on a series of efficiency improvements to reduce fuel consumption, maintenance time and cost. It also allows pilots with existing type rating licence to fly on 4th gen with as little learning as possible. It was a rushed response to the success of Airbus 320Neo. Based on reports, due to an extensive number of shortcuts and neglect, it had a deadly outcome of two air crashes and serval serious incidents. The aeroplane was grounded for around two years, and it got recently approved to be airworthy again.
How looks the experience of flying on Boeing 737 Max 8? What’s the difference between 737 NG and MAX from the passangers perspective?
I knew that it would be probably the safest airplane to fly on it after two years of grounding. It went through many improvements suggested by FAA, EASA, Boeing, airlines and pilots to ensure Boeing 737 MAX be airworthy.
I flew with LOT Polish Airlines. It is a small but charming airline. More about them, you will find in another post where I compare different airlines on the route between Wroclaw and London.
I flew three times in few days. First I flew from London Heathrow to Warsaw. On the second leg, we flew with a different aeroplane. On the way back, I flew on Boeing 737 MAX from Wroclaw to Warsaw and changed to another flight from Warsaw to London Heathrow. On one flight, I was lucky enough to fly on Boeing 737 Max 8 with special 100 years of independence with registration SP-LVD. It looks fantastic. I wish there were more red accents inside, but I always like to see aircraft with unique livery.
Let’s face it. Boeing 737 is a design from the sixties of the previous century with modern interiors, electronics and engines.
The first difference is winglets that apparently improve fuel efficiency, but it allows to make cool photos. Engines look bigger and very close to the ground. However, the interior looks much more peaceful thanks to “the LED mood lighting” (something that is retro-fitted to 737 NG). I really like them. That’s all. Everything else looks shiny as new … because … well, it is a new aircraft :D.
I saw a glimpse of the cockpit, and it looks more digital .. but I hope i will have a chance to see it in detail someday.
In terms of flying, it feels quieter with better, and that’s all. You will don’t notice any difference.
So, Is it safe to fly?
I am not an expert in aviation engineering. I am not a pilot. I am not social media expert or keyboard warrior to comment professionally about the subject.
From my passenger experience? Yes. It is a 50 years old design with modern equipment.
Boeing 737 Max is one of the safest aeroplanes to fly after being grounded for two years. It was under scrutiny by many aviation agencies like The Federal Aviation Administration, European Union Aviation Safety Agency, and others. Some of them take even longer to evaluate, like Civil Aviation Administration of China. Nobody, including Boeing, wants another crash.
Remember. It is normal in aviation to hear about new issues found weekly because manufacturers, airlines and agencies work all the time to improve Safety. While media will spread exponentially over panic to get better revenue, every time is a “new problem with 737 MAX”, but keep in mind that they will often omit who finds it, the current workaround, and a permanent solution for this problem (or solution already applied).
While it is easy to jump to statements like “Bad things happen when rushed decision to deliver value to shareholders”, but I hope, right people learn their lesson and remember that Safety has the highest priority that can’t be rushed or saved on. The aviation industry always was obsessed with Safety. I hope governments will make sure that there is enough money for the agency to check and improve the safety of the aeroplanes.
Flight remains the safest way, and I am still optimistic about the future.
I doubt that pilots and airlines will fly on something unsafe to fly.
I enjoyed my flights on the Boeing 737 MAX. Mainly due to the great crew of the LOT, tasty food, comfy seat, the pleasant ambience of the cabin and what it feels like a bit quieter ride. If you discover that you will fly on Boeing 737 MAX with LOT, you should be happy because you will enjoy a calmer and more peaceful experience with a great crew. I think the Ryanair version will feel much more crowded and squeezy, but I am looking forward to trying it.