Tuesday 12 March 2019

How to tell if your'e flying on a Boeing 737 MAX

The crashed Ethiopian Airlines jet was a Boeing 737MAX

All modern aircraft flying on commercial routes will typically be built by a handful of companies, most commonly Boeing or Airbus.

The two major planemakers, headquartered in Chicago and Toulouse respectively, account for almost 90 per cent of the world’s commercial aircraft, while smaller producers include Brazil’s Embraer and Canada’s Bombardier.

Each company produces a range of aircraft types, under which there are different variations with modifications or additions.

For example, Boeing has produced the 737 narrow-body aircraft since the 1960s, but has made improved variants over time – such as the 737MAX, which was the aircraft involved in the recent Ethiopian Airlines crash and the downed Lion Air jet in Indonesia last year. A handful of airlines, including Ethiopian, Cayman and carriers in China and Indonesia, have grounded the 737MAX fleet following the crash, which killed all 157 people onboard.

The airlines that have grounded Boeing 737 Max jets following the Ethiopian Airlines crash (Statista)
Meanwhile, some aircraft are more popular with certain airlines – Emirates has a large fleet of A380s, Ryanair’s workhorse is the Boeing 737-800 and British Airways has the largest fleet of Boeing 747s in the world.

If you’ve booked a flight, there are ways to find out which aircraft you’ll be flying on.

When you book with an airline, it will often detail the aircraft on the booking page or via the e-ticket confirmation. Alternatively, you can contact the airline directly and they should be able to help.

SeatGuru lists the configurations of more than 1,000 aircraft. It has a handy tool that allows you to plug in your airline, date of flight and flight number, which will bring up the scheduled aircraft.

It will then detail how that aircraft is configured for that airline, showing many seats are available in each cabin as well as seats that can be problematic – with limited legroom or get cold from a draught, for example. There are also user reviews and photos. SeatGuru lists 157 airlines and the aircraft they operate.

Seat Expert is not quite as user friendly, but lists all the aircraft in major airlines’ fleets, complete with seat maps and comments on best and worst seats to choose. Seat Link is similar.

Live flight tracking apps, such as Flight Radar 24, Flight Aware and Plane Finder, will show the aircraft flying on a particular route, as well as live flight information. The aircraft registration number – the ID given to each plane – is available to registered users.

However, this isn’t an exact science, and the aircraft can be changed before the flight.

How to tell if you’re flying the Boeing 737 MAX
There are a few variants of the Boeing 737 MAX jet, depending on the size of the aircraft. When booking a flight flown by a 737 MAX, sometimes the confirmation will include the letter ‘M’: 7M7, 7M8 or 7M9 are most typical.

At the airport, the easiest way to spot a 737 MAX is by the aircraft’s distinctive wingtips – with “fins” that protrude down as well as up.

(Source: Independent)

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