Southwest takes its first 737 MAX

Southwest Airlines is the proud owner of a 737 MAX 8. The airline took delivery of its first 737MAX yesterday afternoon, bringing it from Boeing Field in Renton to Dallas on the delivery flight. Ship N8710M arrived with minimal celebration or fanfare; the airline still has one hub closed and thousands of employees displaced by flooding associated with Hurricane Harvey in Houston.

Southwest has 200 of the 737 MAX family aircraft on order; 170 will be the MAX 8 with 30 MAX 7 rounding out the total. Southwest has options to order 191 additional MAX aircraft.

The company expects to take delivery of a handful of planes in the coming days as it begins the fleet induction and familiarization process leading up to the inaugural commercial service on 1 October 2017. The first flights for the new type will touch Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. These are the same cities that the company’s first flights connected in 1971.

A total of nine planes are expected to be in service on October 1st with five more deliveries by the end of the year. The launch of the MAX matches the retirement of the last of Southwest’s 737-300 aircraft, the “Classic” line.

The MAX aircraft all feature Southwest’s new interior, including the “wider” seats, mostly delivered by making the arm rest narrower, not increasing the cushion size nor shoulder room. They have 175 seats on board, just like the 737-800s currently in the fleet but also sit slightly higher thanks to the larger, quieter engines the MAX runs on.

For those into the inflight connectivity side of the business the 737MAX will be some of the first Southwest planes to carry the Panasonic Avionics Ku-band satellite connectivity service, though my understanding is that the first few are not equipped for such. The initial deliveries still carry the Global Eagle product the rest of the Southwest fleet currently flies.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


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