We hear a lot of bad things about the Boeing 737 MAX 9, so I was surprised at what a positive reception the aircraft received by passengers around me on a recent flight.
Earlier this week, I flew from Los Angeles to Houston and found myself on 737 MAX 9 for the first time. I was in an exit row with 1Ks on either side of me and across the aisle from me. The plane was almost full, with a just a few open middle seats.
While the Boeing 737 MAX 9 lacks any built-in seatback in-flight-entertainment (IFE) system, economy class seats feature special stands for mobile phones or tablets. Complimentary movies and TV shows are available on-demand from the aircraft’s wi-fi intranet system. In-seat power outlets are also conveniently located under the seat in front of you rather than under your own seat (there are two outlets per three seats).
Looking around, the majority of passengers had taken advantage of the setup to stream IFE from their mobile devices. And you know something? No one complained. No one said how inconvenient this was compared to built-in screens. The guy next to me showed the guy across the aisle how to use it and you should the seen the smile spread across his face.
1K #1: See how that works? This is a great new plane!
1K #2: Your’e right. Wow, that’s a great thing!
Of course I would love built in-screens, but I cannot blame United or other airlines for going the streaming route. Less weight, less expense, and once they adapt, happy customers. Everyone has a smart phone these days and although it represents a new era in IFE, I think most passengers are going to make the adjustment just fine.
But the Mid-Cabin Lavatory…
Of course I cannot write about the Boeing 737 MAX 9 without mentioning the tiny lavatory located just behind first class. I had to try it…and it was truly horrible. It was big enough for me to turn around, but water sprayed all over the counter, mirror, and door the moment I turned it on. That’s just poor engineering…
I would never go out of my way to fly any 737, but it was nice to finally try the MAX 9. I think United’s next-generation IFE selection is an appropriate solution that consumers are quickly adjusting to. But Boeing needs to go back to the drawing board on that horrid little lavatory…