When I was putting together our trip to Hawaii, I needed a flight to get us from Kauai to Oahu. After searching, I found a great deal on a Southwest flight. I booked our inter-island flight for 2,240 Rapid Rewards points and $5.60 in taxes.
I was so thrilled to have one more part of the trip planning finished, I neglected to look at one thing – which aircraft type Southwest used on its Hawaii flights. Honestly, it didn’t matter at the time because they could swap aircraft on any route over the course of several months. It wasn’t until we were in Hawaii and I was checking on our flights that I realized that the usual plane for the LIH-HNL flight is a 737-800 MAX (shown on FlightAware as B38M)
When I checked on the morning of our flight, the plane was showing as a MAX.
I wasn’t overly worried about this fact. It’s just that we’d been avoiding the aircraft even before it was grounded. One reason was that the plane was reportedly not very comfortable. If we’d be taking one, at least it would be on a 35-minute trip.
I didn’t say anything to Sharon, but she texted me once we boarded the plane (we were seated at different rows because, Southwest).
I’ve heard that airlines are not using the MAX designation because of the negative feelings so I wasn’t surprised when Southwest didn’t mark it on the safety information card.
It wasn’t until I started looking around that things weren’t adding up. There are several ways to tell a 737 MAX from an older version 737.
Looking at the wing, I noticed that the winglets were the wrong shape for the MAX, which does not have a pointy end on the top.
When we landed, I took a picture of the plane and looked up the registration number, N8306H, on Airfleets.net.
The plane is a 737-800 NG (next generation). Another giveaway is that the aircraft was almost 10 years old before MAX planes were produced.
Going back to FlightAware confirmed that our plane was a 737-800.
Southwest swapped planes sometime after I looked in the morning. Since Southwest has open seating, there’s no need to change seat assignments.
I’m partially disappointed because I know I’ll eventually need to fly on a MAX aircraft and this would have been a great time to get it out of the way. However, the longer the aircraft is back in operation, the less I’ll be worried about flying on one. To be honest, I wasn’t concerned about this flight.
What are your feelings about flying on a 737 MAX?
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