Is your next flight scheduled on a 737 MAX 9 aircraft?

Is your next flight scheduled on a 737 MAX 9 aircraft?

Get an alert if swapped to the troubled plane and how to rescue a canceled flight

by Kurt Knutsson

Hundreds of flight cancellations continue days after both Alaska Airlines and United Airlines cope with the mandatory grounding of the Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft like the one involved in a midair incident when the plug covering a section designed for a door failed, leaving a gaping hole and sucking out parts of the adjacent seats. Chances are that if a future flight is showing a 737 MAX 9 aircraft type, your flight will be canceled.

As of Friday morning, there were 1,600+ flight cancellations according to FlightAware, although some attributed to weather conditions.

Credit: Boeing


4 ways to tell if your flight is assigned the 737 MAX 9 aircraft

Determining if your upcoming flight is using a Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft involves a few steps.

1) Check your booking details: Start by reviewing your flight confirmation or booking details. Airlines often list the aircraft type on your ticket or itinerary. Look for terms like “Boeing 737 MAX 9” or “B737 MAX 9”.

2) Visit the airline’s website or app: If the aircraft type isn’t specified in your booking details, visit the airline’s website. Search for your flight by entering the flight number or your booking reference. Many airlines provide detailed information about the aircraft, including the model.


3) Use flight tracking websites: Websites like FlightAware or Flightradar24 can provide detailed information about specific flights, including the type of aircraft used. Enter your flight number on these platforms to see if your flight will be operated with a Boeing 737 MAX 9.  My new fave Flighty app alerts you when the aircraft type changes or a flight is going to be disrupted.

Credit: Flighty



4) Check the day of the flight: Sometimes, airlines may change the aircraft type last minute due to operational needs. Check the information screens at the airport or ask at the gate to confirm the aircraft type on the day of your flight.

A Boeing 737-900 is not the same as a 737 MAX 9 aircraft.  In person, a 737 MAX can be identified visually by the forward-mounted engines ahead of the wing and the notches on the back edge design of the engines.

Credit: Boeing




What to do when your flight on a 737 Max 9 is canceled

Both United and Alaska Airlines were affected by the FAA grounding and mandatory inspection of the Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft equipped with a fuselage plug where the frame was originally designed for a door in a spot that’s about 12 rows aft of the wing.

I was scheduled to fly from LAX to Newark on Alaska Airlines this past Friday when my flight was canceled about 36 hours ahead of departure. Alaska sent me to their app to confirm or change the automatically rebooked itinerary, but it failed when I logged in, saying that change could not be made online.


Alaska Airlines call center wait time 8 hours, 9 minutes

Calling Alaska Airlines, the recorded message said wait times were 8 hours 9 minutes in my recent trip. On another phone support line for the airline VIPs, of which I am not one but decided to dial in desperation, I was able to select an option to receive a callback, which did come a few hours later when I was able to speak with an Alaska representative.

By that time, I had chosen to book another flight on JetBlue at the last minute, having no confidence in their operational stability, and asked for a refund.

If I had not already rebooked on my own, I would have pushed for a direct flight on their partner American instead of the unreasonable 14-hour zigzag series of Alaska flights automatically selected for me by their recovery algorithm.


Chat to rebook is hit or miss

Alaska offers chat as an alternative to get customer support by texting 82008. But in my case, I received a message after a considerable wait saying they were “unable to accept additional chats.”

You can send a text message to United Airlines at 1-800-UNITED-1 (1-800-864-8331). This service allows you to ask questions, get assistance, and manage your bookings via text.


Social media direct messaging for help

United Airlines can be contacted through their social media channels, like Twitter (@united) or Facebook, and is fairly responsive to customer outreach. For Alaska Airlines on Twitter, their handle is @AlaskaAir. Be sure to provide essential details like your flight number and booking reference, but avoid sharing sensitive personal information publicly.


Know your options before you reach out for rebooking help

Consider using every path to access the airline when you need help.  If your flight is canceled on United or Alaska Airlines, know your options before reaching a representative to rebook. You may have more options than are offered on the airlines’ apps or websites.



Best sites and apps to rescue your canceled flight

  • Expertflyer is my go-to favorite site to see broad seat and flight inventory between cities.
  • shows all flights out of a particular departure airport regardless of the carrier which can come in handy when dealing with rebooking to suggest alternatives that are better than what the airline is suggesting to rebook you on.

Remember that airlines are very conscious of passenger concerns, especially regarding specific aircraft models like the Boeing 737 MAX series. If you have concerns about flying on this aircraft, you can discuss them with the airline, and they might be able to accommodate your preferences depending on their policies and the availability of alternative flights or aircraft.


Kurt’s key takeaways

Knowledge is key to avoiding travel disruptions related to the plagued 737 MAX 9 aircraft.  Be ready with the right tech travel apps and tools before heading to the airport.  Smart travel apps can alert you to trouble before it happens, giving you a chance to solve a problem before it becomes yours.

What are your thoughts on the Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft and its safety issues? Would you fly on one if you had the choice? Let us know in the comments below.





Copyright 2024  All rights reserved. articles and content may contain affiliate links that earn a commission when purchases are made.



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Hiker VA January 14, 2024 - 9:15 am

Would not fly on a 737 Max, any version.

Connie M. January 14, 2024 - 4:09 pm

I’m booked for Southwest flights in a Boeing Max 8 aircraft. Have there been any problems with that model?

Darren P. January 14, 2024 - 10:42 am

Yes, I would fly on a Boeing 737 MAX 9 once they are cleared to fly. I have full confidence in Boeing and that they, and the FAA, will determine the necessary steps to ensure the safety of the aircraft.

Joseph H. January 14, 2024 - 12:43 pm

Joe H.
I was an aircraft mechanic for 41 yrs. at a major airline and from what I have seen in the pictures on news media sites the door in question is of a typical design for Boeing aircraft. I believe that door inspection at the time of assembly was somehow missed and the bolts that keep the door from moving off it’s stops were not torqued at all. If an inspection was done, it was just done visually to confirm that the bolts were installed. Seeing that the design has been employed for many years and I didn’t observe any structural failure in the photos I wouldn’t hesitate to fly on that aircraft type. The inspection they’re doing now is probably overkill to make sure it wasn’t anything other than the lack of bolts being torqued.

R Barlow January 14, 2024 - 5:26 pm

Would not hesitate to fly on ANY Alaska aircraft (including Horizon).
If the FAA says it’s good, the airline says it’s good, it’s good. Pleasant trips to all.

JB January 15, 2024 - 5:31 am

No I would not fly on a 737 max unless I had absolutely no choice. Not worth it. Boeing continues to demonstrate that their engineering/Quality Control process has serious issues that are only discovered when an accident occurs. The 737 series of planes have had a series of issues over the years. Anyone remember the tail screw problem? Never hear these things from airbus built planes.

Eric N January 20, 2024 - 4:55 pm

The tail screw problem was an MD-80, built by McDonell Douglass before Boeing bought them.

Mark C January 15, 2024 - 5:42 pm

United was my go to airline
Now not so much seems like the management is more concerned about their upper management bonuses then safety not a good combination
Boeing needs to resolve the issue take the plane out of service before a major safety/death happens
The FAA is also partly to blame along with the Biden administration worthless travel czar
Part of the state of this country along with “no inflation” lies these worthless people continue to spew to the country


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