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What You Should Know If You’re About to Fly on a Boeing Max 9

Boeing 737 Max 9 jets are set to resume passenger flights in the United States this weekend after being grounded due to a panel incident. Alaska Airlines has already resumed flights with its Max 9s, and United plans to follow suit. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) outlines the inspection process for airlines to examine and repair door plugs, the panel that detached in the recent incident. Despite concerns about safety, the FAA assures that the new inspection process, based on findings from inspecting 40 other planes, instills confidence in the aircraft’s safety.

Alaska Airlines grounded its 65 Max 9 jets after a door plug incident on flight 1282, prompting the FAA to ground all Max 9s in the U.S. The incident raised questions about safety, leading to detailed visual inspections and repairs before allowing the planes back in service. Both Alaska and United found issues with loose bolts securing door plugs during inspections.

Alaska Airlines mentioned a slight dip in sales, referred to as “booking away,” but expects confidence to be restored over time. The public’s memory is anticipated to fade once the FAA clears the planes to fly, provided there are no further incidents.

While flying is statistically safer than driving or rail travel, recent close-call investigations have raised concerns. Boeing faces an FAA investigation into whether proper safety procedures were followed in manufacturing the part that detached. Additionally, the FAA is withholding approval for Boeing to expand Max jet production until quality-control concerns are addressed. This crisis may further impact Boeing’s competition with Airbus, as airlines like United consider alternatives due to uncertainties surrounding the Max 10 certification.

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