Alaska Airlines has completed its first revenue Boeing 737 MAX flight. After a flight from the airline’s main hub in Seattle, the aircraft successfully touched down in San Diego today. The aircraft’s first flight comes after years of the airline waiting to take the jet and move forward with its fleet transformation as it moves back to its all-Boeing roots.
Alaska Airlines completes first revenue Boeing 737 MAX flight
On March 1st, Alaska Airlines completed its first-ever revenue Boeing 737 MAX flight. Using a Boeing 737 MAX 9, the aircraft flew from Seattle to San Diego. According to data from Radarbox, the aircraft left just before 06:28 local time in Seattle and landed around two hours and 44 minutes later in sunny San Diego.
The flight was wholly uneventful, which was good for the airline and exactly what it expected. After a lengthy 737 MAX grounding, Alaska finally took its first MAX jet in January. After working with the jet for over a month, the airline finally put it into revenue commercial service with relatively little fanfare.
The plane that operated this flight is registered as N913AK. This was the first Boeing 737 MAX jet that Alaska Airlines took in January. According to data from RadarBox, the jet has been pretty busy running test flights for the airline.
In the weeks before entering revenue commercial service, the jet had been busy on a series of flights between Seattle and Los Angeles, test flights in Seattle, between Seattle and San Diego, and so many more points.
Alaska Airlines expects to fly a total of 68 Boeing 737 MAX 9s and has options for an additional 52 planes. Alaska’s MAX options could be transformative for the airline, as it has a history of taking all of its options.
The MAX 9s seat 178 passengers. This includes 16 in first class, 24 in extra-legroom economy, and 138 in standard economy. All seats feature access to power, which is good because Alaska chose not to install seatback entertainment in its MAX 9 jets.
The first of a long future of 737 MAX flights
Alaska Airlines is moving forward with taking more MAX jets and retiring its Airbus A320 aircraft. As Alaska gets more and more MAX jets, the frequency of passengers flying MAX flights will increase. The MAX will end up flying on a host of routes.
In the future, as Alaska takes more MAX jets and its customers become more confident with flying the MAX, the airline will certainly move to use this aircraft on longer routes, such as transcontinental routes, flights to Mexico and Costa Rica, and certainly to and from Hawaii.
If Alaska opts to take all of its MAX options, it will represent the airline’s commitment to the MAX and expectations for growth opportunities. The MAX can do many things that the 737 Next Generations cannot do, and the new alliance with American Airlines could see the airline continue to grow its network thanks to international feed from its partners. The MAX could also work well to replace the existing Boeing 737 Next Generation fleet down the line or grow the airline to pre-crisis fleet levels or above.
Were you onboard today’s MAX revenue flight? Will you fly the Alaska Airlines 737 MAX? Let us know in the comments!