On Wednesday, the Boeing 737 MAX safely completed its first passenger flight with members of the media on board, Reuters reported. The American Airlines flight departed from Dallas, Texas and arrived in Tulsa, Oklahoma without incident. The airliner is expected to make its first commercial flight on Dec. 29.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has approved the Boeing 737 MAX to fly again after being grounded back in March 2019.
Two Boeing 737 MAX planes crashed within five months of each other, Lion Air Flight 610 in October 2018 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 in March 2019. Since then, all Boeing 737 MAX planes have been grounded in order to conduct investigations and safety testing, according to Reuters. The FAA approved the plane as “airworthy” again last month.
In the last 20 months, the plane has gone through some major changes in order to ensure safety on board. The biggest change is to the plane’s MCAS software, meant to make sure the plane doesn’t take off at too steep an angle or stall, according to Scott’s Cheap Flights. Now, the software update only initiates at a certain angle, and it can be overridden manually by the pilot. Pilots on the 737 MAX are also undergoing new training procedures.
The new 737 MAX will be slowly reincorporated into commercial flight schedules, starting with American Airlines at the end of 2020, and presumably United, Southwest, and other major carriers in 2021, according to Scott’s Cheap Flights.
Even with the safety upgrades, some consumers might still feel apprehensive about flying on this particular plane. But luckily, there’s an easy way to know if your flight is on a 737 MAX.
When you book a flight, you’ll be able to see what type of equipment you’ll be flying on in small print, usually below the airplane codes, times, and dates of the flight. According to Scott’s Cheap Flights, most airlines have said that they will reaccommodate passengers for free if they are booked on a flight on a 737 MAX that they would prefer not to take.
Andrea Romano is a freelance writer in New York City. Follow her on Twitter @theandrearomano.
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