I want to take my son on a 737 MAX trip this weekend, lest I ever be accused of hypocrisy.
Earlier today, I made (or attempted to make) a rather abstract argument that perhaps we are acting too hastily in grounding the 737 MAX.
Reader Joey suggested:
To prove your point, it may be a good blog article if you take yourself and your entire family on a Boeing 737-8 MAX flight this week and write about it.
> Read More: The Boeing 737 MAX And Iraq War Redux
Since then, Canada has grounded the 737 MAX, leaving the USA to “go it alone” once again. I do not discount the possibility that politics are at play over safety in the United States.
Augustine, my two-year-old, is at an age where he loves airplanes. As we sat watching the Lufthansa safety video (a great tool to teach him English and German) on Monday evening, I was already looking at spending the day at LAX on Saturday. You should have heard him cry when I closed YouTube. He loves watching takeoff and landings.
My wife will be busy on Saturday, which leaves me the whole day with Augustine.
Earlier, Lucky wrote about why he will not fly the 737 MAX (to put his loved ones at ease). I respect that decision.
But here’s my rationale. I trust U.S. commercial airline pilots. These are the men and women who fly the 737 MAX every single day. And these are also the professionals who have no self-interest in flying an unsafe aircraft. If these pilots felt remotely unsafe about operating this aircraft, they would not…and also would not receive any repercussions from their airline or Boeing for doing so. U.S. airlines have also installed additional safety features aboard the 737 MAX.
We don’t know what happened to the Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX 8. We need to find out. There are two approaches: ground all aircraft out of an abundance of caution or understand that a problem has been identified and pilots know exactly what to look for, offering a fail-safe solution to a well-trained pilot (according to U.S. pilots).
Southwest alone has flown more than 40,000 Southwest MAX flights without incident. I know no one disputes the odds, but I realize that I put my son at greater risk of death by driving to the airport than by taking any flights.
Both American and Southwest operate 737 MAX 8 variants. United operates the 737 MAX 9. I’d love to work in all three on Saturday, but that doesn’t seem plausible. I’m reaching out to you, dear readers, to see if there is anything I am missing.
I know I can take the Southwest 737 MAX 8 from LAX to Oakland. It does not appear that American operates 737 MAX 8 flights from Los Angeles. I know United serves Houston and Honolulu on the MAX 9.
The Honolulu flight looks especially appealing on Saturday because upgrade space is open and my son and I could slum it in first class to Honolulu. But that’s a six-hour flight and we’d need to return same-day. That’s just a bit much for a two-year-old.
I’d much rather do something like Southwest to Oakland. A one-hour flight is perfect for a two-year-old who loves airplanes. I’d just like to fly the MAX on both Southwest and American or United.
Quite honestly, I would love to take my son on a little day trip on Saturday. With all the controversy on the 737 MAX, I’d like to fly on that aircraft.
And let me say this, just so there is no doubt. I am not an aviation safety expert and I do not know what happened. We need to find out and I continue to criticize Boeing for not being more transparent. Still, my own somewhat-informed assessment leads to conclude that we are throwing out the baby with the bathwater.
God forbid we have any more incidents to prove me wrong…